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Professional sports are under a microscope lately, from Ray Rice and the NFL to the owner of Atlanta Hawks and the NBA.

There is no question about what should or should have happened in the case of the NFL and Ray Rice.

He should be fired from The Baltimore Ravens.

The NFL responded badly to the entire situation.

But, when it comes to the NBA and the Hawks, there is no real consensus about whether an email written by the team’s owner Bruce Levenson is racist and warrants him selling his controlling interest in the team.

In August of 2012 Levenson wrote an email to his fellow owners about how to get more white fans to attend the games and to become season ticket holders.

Let me be perfectly clear.

If this email is all there is to this story, I don’t see the controversy.

In the email Levenson wrote about how impressed he was with the professionalism and friendliness of the arena staff.

Levenson wrote quote, “To this day, I can not get the ushers to call me Bruce yet they insist on me calling them by their first names.”

He went on to write about attracting 35-55 year-old white males and corporations to buy season tickets because the are the quote, “primary demo for season tickets around the league.”

For background, in television the desired age demographic is 18 to 49 year olds.

According to The Nielsen Company which measures television ratings, that age range is more important than the total number of viewers watching any program at any time.

Guess which age range every single television show and media company targets?  18 to 49 year olds.

And they target that group unapologetically through programming or through the diversity of the people on said television shows or broadcasts.

That’s not a secret by any means.

Levenson also wrote that by his estimation the people attending Hawks’ games are 70 percent black.

Having lived in Atlanta and having attended many Hawks’ games that number is probably accurate.

He also wrote about the ethnicity of the cheerleaders, the type of music played at the games, the clientele of the bars and restaurants in proximity of the arena and so on.

Again, having lived in Atlanta and having worked in the same building where the Hawks’ games are played, all of the above are mostly black.

He was stating the truth​.

What made many people uncomfortable, and rightly so, was that he surmised that maybe many of the teams black fans don’t have the spendable income to invest in season tickets and team merchandise.

However, in the period that email was written, according to the Economic Policy Institute,  “Atlanta ranked 13th, with a black unemployment rate of 15.7%.”

The same study showed that while the metropolitan areas with the five largest black populations were about average in their black-to-white unemployment rate disparity, in 2010, Atlanta, however had the largest disparity with a ratio of 2.2-to-1.

What that means is blacks in Atlanta were hit hardest by the recession and had less disposable income than their white counterparts.

Here’s the important part, context.

Levenson prefaced some of his remarks as his own unscientific theory by writing quote, “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a signficant season ticket base. Please dont get me wrong. There was nothing threatening going on in the arean back then. i never felt uncomfortable, but I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority. On fan sites i would read comments about how dangerous it is around philips yet in our 9 years, I don’t know of a mugging or even a pick pocket incident. This was just racist garbage. When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.”

The email was not racist.

There is no Donald Sterling-esque smoking gun here.

He didn’t say he wanted fewer black people.

He said he wanted more people of the desired demographic of his business, white men between the ages of 35 to 55-years old.

In my estimation, his message to his colleagues was a smart one; by constantly playing their strong hand or preaching to the choir, they were in essence fishing in an empty pond.

His words may have been inartful, but the man was simply trying to run a business and not lose money.

He was strategizing in an email on how to reach out to a coveted demographic to put more butts in the seats.

It is just that simple.

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16 thoughts on “Don Lemon Says Bruce Levenson Of The Atlanta Hawks Is Not A Racist

  1. BuffaloSoldier on said:

    We need to think$$$$$ Once we brain wash our kids to save save … invest ,,, pool resources together …buy rundown houses for $3,000 Fix Them rent them to out ,,, keep resources in Black communities … quit hating each other we will be respected .. and money is equal to power. We can all achieve wealth a little at the time … why can’t we buy a rundown house for $1 ,, fix it up with the help of our fellow Brother’s and Sister’ s live in it rather than on the streets??? Sweat Equity … I help You … You help Me… We both save money and we make instantly $20,000 profit by fixing a run down house from Zero… to $30,000 within 2 months rather than rent from a crooked White “SLUM LORDS” the same refurbished Hood House for $800 / Month we use that $800 to fix that house and make it livable one room at the time and within one year you have $30,000 -$60,000 in equity .. can you imagine If we could get homeless working poor Blacks to work together !!! 10 families working together fixing 10 houses in 1 year would increase The Hood Economy Prosperity by at least $ 300,000-$600,000 .. This is what young Whites are doing in Detroit .. They buy abandoned Hood houses for $1 yes $1 and within 10years Detroit will become Young White America…… While We are paying them rent like we did with their parents ,,, we again become”Mr Charlie’s” trusted Slaves….. Think about this!!!!

  2. BuffaloSoldier on said:

    Don Lemons’s boss is Jewish… Levenson is Jewish..many sports team owner’s are Jews … Jews do what We Blacks Don’t…. “They Stick Together” Mess with one Jews anywhere in the world and your career is over…… Mess with a Black Man like that Jewish LA Clipper owner … You create outrage ,Blacks get pissed, the Jewish NBA Commissioner is “Outraged ” … and Donals Sterling increases the Clippers value from $500 Millions to $ 2 Billions …. “forced” to sell the the Clippers .. making $1.5 Billion in profits!!!!…..The Jews have always made money on the back of Blacks ….. Look at Music and Entertainment … Who owns Hollywood… Former Jewish Immigrants from Russia… No wonder Blacks couldn’t make it in Hollywood !!! Now we get access why? guess what … Jews are always on top.. Why don’t we learn from these smart people ?? Chinese have and so have Japanese and Koreans … They are the next Jews….And so are Nigerians The richest Black Man is Dankota from Nigeria he is worth $15 Billion Why Can’t we do the same?????

  3. Instead of our black millionaire athletes throwing their money up in the air at strip clubs, buying gaudy jewelry, and flashy cars, pool the money together to become owners! Heck even form your own league! Why continue to put money in he pockets of people who see you as property.

  4. BuffaloSoldier on said:

    Levenson is concerned that Americans are attending Hawks Games and spending their hard earned cash making this White Jewish Slave Owner Rich … Yes Blacks are americans

  5. BuffaloSoldier on said:

    This Leveson is a modern day White Slave owner.. his plantation is The NBA , His Commodities tha he buys and trades are highly talented Black Brothers 85% of the time they are Blacks ….
    So Levenson is concerned that Americans….. Yes Levenson Blacks Are Americans as you are…
    Levenson You bigot and Black folks money doesn’t count ?????

  6. BuffaloSoldier on said:

    Brothers And Sisters Don Lemon is not one of us …. His White Gay Boyfriend has a huge influence on him don’t trust this sellout … Somebody is paying him !! His boss is a rich Jewish person and Levenson is Jewish and so was the former Clipper owner .. and the former Harlem Globe Trotters owners who used to refer to players as my …. Negros….

  7. Jacqueline Perry on said:

    America still has a lot of racial issues, fergueson has brought a lot of this out of people, before everybody was holding it in, fergueson made folks really express themselves.oit to will pass and prehaps will draw races closer in the end.maybe what we needed as americans.

  8. It is all about the bottom line. Bruce Levenson comments may not have been racist but it was very insensitive to both black and white fans. Fans are not coming to the games because the Hawks do not put a good product on the floor. Affluent fans black or white have better things to do than sit in an arena and watch a sub-par NBA team night after night. I could not name a Hawk player off the top of my head so why would I buy Hawk merchandize so in my mind getting a 70% black fan base is better than no fan base. Levenson might be a better business man than we give him credit for being stir the race pot and be forced out of the NBA at a profit. Don I think you fell for the banana in the tail pipe trick.

  9. Elven Decker on said:

    So can we test Levenson’s theory? I’m a white male in the desired demographic, and as it happens I do feel nervous when I’m the only white person in a bar filled with black people.

    I am curious… How does it feel to be the only black person in a bar filled with white people?

    • Thatgirlrightthere on said:

      The problem is the “perceived threat” versus “actual threat.” Some white people simply believe that if they are in a room full of black people, they are in danger. Why? My issue is that often times, many white people categorize black people based off of what is seen in social media. Some white people never take the time out to truly get to know black people. I have had some white friends spend time with me and my family and many are amazed of how much fun they had. Not all black people are thugs. We are not all sitting on the system. A lot of us actually have been raised by our biological mother AND father. We are educated. We have jobs. We vote. We are engaged in our children’s lives. Some white people do not want to believe that because it is easier to believe the stereotypes. It’s easier to hold on to personal prejudices because deep down, there is a sense of superiority and entitlement.

  10. seriously on said:

    Don you are an ass…Why would anyone take your articles seriously…When you were in Ferguson. MO and was pushed and shoved by white folks…You wrote article after article about racism, even one telling white folks to help black folks combat this racism. Now, that you are no longer in danger you are back to spewing and cooning for white folks….This man knew exactly what he was saying this is 2014 and he said it because he meant it…Like most people, like me calling you an ass…sorry that is just what I meant to say and do not care how you interpret it. Perhaps you are cooning to keep your job, since CNN is set to do layoff sand nothing they like better than a coon telling black folks that not shit they are throwing in your face, that is sunshine…Or perhaps you can tell that asswipe to give blacks folks back their monies for attending the games and making him rich.

  11. I was also confused as to why he would sell his interest. Until I realized that he is doing exactly what he should be doing. There was nothing remotely racist about the e-mail. But if the man can’t state facts and be able to figure out how to maximize his profits, based on those facts, because of racist fear mongering, then he should cut his losses and move on. Good for him.

  12. I’m sure if the email comments included sitting next to too many homosexuals, and too many homosexuals kissing on the Cam, Mr. Lemon would be OUTRAGED! I’m sure Mr. Lemon would then consider Levenson everything under the sun! But of course Mr. Lemon must also protect his career at CNN.

    • I said it. on said:

      You hit the nail on the head. I was wondering if Son gets paid for his efforts to keep us in line. It may be time for another field trip to Ferguson, to remind Don of who he is.

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