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Sunday, May 19
The Indiana Daily Student

A different kind of progress

In an unfortunate, yet sadly unsurprising turn of events, another NBA team owner has found himself the center of a racial ?scandal.

Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson came forward recently about his own less-than-politically correct past mistakes.

He presented an email he’d written two years ago in which he stated that he personally believed “the black crowd scared away the whites” at Hawks games.

It goes without saying that his actions are ?inexcusable.

But what interested me was the fact that this was not “discovered” by a tech-savvy hacker. He outlined his own racist views.

More specifically, he had a list of complaints that he had made.

There were too many black cheerleaders.

Not enough father-son duos present, possibly implying that the often stereotyped and offensive idea that black fathers are not around for their kids is true.

Concerts following game time were too often hip-hop or gospel and even that the Kiss Cam segment was “too black.”

As an intelligent businessman with quite a bit to lose, I don’t understand how an email like this gets written.

More than that, how he validated that this was OK to send to fellow co-owners and the team’s general manager is beyond me.

Levenson was an avid supporter of relinquishing the ownership of the Los Angeles Clippers from Donald Sterling in April and claims that it was that particular situation that led him to the belief that the NBA should operate under a no-tolerance policy when dealing with racism.

This situation is trickier than the marathon-long battle revolving around Sterling back in April.

The comments were equally, if not more, offensive, and it’s another extremely unfortunate situation for a team and it’s fan base to hear and accept.

Yet in some strange way, this situation presents signs of progress.

This man could have addressed the email to his co-owners and general manager and crossed his fingers and toes that it never surfaced for public knowledge.

He also could have chalked it up to past-is-past and a learning experience.

He could have hidden this from the public eye forever.

It was a private email that he could have easily ignored or hidden away. But instead he decided that he needed to come forward with this information.

I’m not validating anything he said or did. He was completely wrong.

However, perhaps the takeaway from this entire situation is that the racist white male population of the world is getting the memo that stuff like this isn’t to be tolerated.

And making habit of applauding the act of stating racist comments and then handling them in the appropriate manner isn’t where we should go from here.

Instead, let’s hope that the remainder of the older, white, male team owners of the NBA think twice before something like this occurs again.

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