Tag: Donald Sterling

Hawks Owner Bruce Levenson To Sell Team After Telling NBA About Racially Charged 2012 Email

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.44.19 PM ATLANTA (AP) — Less than one month after the Clippers’ sale ended Donald Sterling’s ugly downfall, another NBA team is on the market following a racially charged disclosure from its owner.

Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson said Sunday he is selling his controlling interest in the team, thanks in part to an inflammatory email he wrote two years ago.

Levenson said he wrote the email in an attempt “to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide.” Instead, he offered his divisive comments, including his theory that Hawks black fans kept white fans away.

Levenson said he regrets the email sent to the team’s co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry in 2012 as “inappropriate and offensive.” In a statement released by the team, Levenson said he sent the email due to his concerns about low attendance and a need to attract suburban whites.

He says he later realized the email made it seem white fans were more important. He voluntarily reported the email to the NBA.

“I have said repeatedly that the NBA should have zero tolerance for racism, and I strongly believe that to be true,” Levenson said in the statement. “That is why I voluntarily reported my inappropriate email to the NBA.

“After much long and difficult contemplation, I have decided that it is in the best interests of the team, the Atlanta community, and the NBA to sell my controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-09 at 6.44.30 PMNBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Sunday the league will work with the Hawks’ ownership group and CEO Steve Koonin, who now will oversee all team operations.

Silver said the league’s independent investigation “regarding the circumstances of Mr. Levenson’s comments” in the email was ongoing when he was told Saturday night of Levenson’s plan to sell his share of the team.

Silver said he supported Levenson’s decision.

“As Mr. Levenson acknowledged, the views he expressed are entirely unacceptable and are in stark contrast to the core principles of the National Basketball Association,” Silver said. “He shared with me how truly remorseful he is for using those hurtful words and how apologetic he is to the entire NBA family — fans, players, team employees, business partners and fellow team owners — for having diverted attention away from our game.

“I commend Mr. Levenson for self-reporting to the league office, for being fully cooperative with the league and its independent investigator, and for putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first.”

Sterling was forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers after a recording surfaced in April of the owner scolding his girlfriend for bringing black men to Clippers games. Steve Ballmer officially became the team’s new owner on Aug. 12.

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Oprah Winfrey Joins David Geffen, Larry Ellison in Bid For Clippers

Oprah WInfreyOprah Winfrey is at the center of an empire that includes stakes in a cable network and a glitzy magazine. Is she about to add a major sports team to her holdings?

“Oprah Winfrey is in discussions with David Geffen and Larry Ellison to make a bid for the Los Angeles Clippers should the team become available,” said Nicole Nichols, a spokeswoman for the lifestyle guru, in a statement. The Wall Street Journal previously reported Winfrey’s interest in the team.

The Los Angeles Clippers are widely seen as being in play — the mergers-and-acquisitions kind, that is — after National Basketball Association commissioner Adam Silver ruled that current owner Donald Sterling was banned from the league after being caught on tape uttering racist remarks about African-Americans. According to Silver, Sterling verified his voice was the one heard on the recording. Silver has said he will try to get NBA owners to press for a sale of the Clippers, which Sterling has held for decades.

Geffen told ESPN on Wednesday that Oprah is “not interested in running the team,” remarking, “She thinks it would be a great thing for an important black American to own (another) franchise.”

“The team deserves a better group of owners who want to win,” he added. “Larry would sooner die than fail. I would sooner die than fail. Larry’s a sportsman. We’ve talked about this for a long time. Between the three of us, we have a good shot.”

article by Brian Steinberg via Variety.com

Clippers Owner Donald Sterling Fined $2.5 Million and Banned for Life by NBA over Racist Comments

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued sweeping sanctions against Donald Sterling on Tuesday in response to controversial remarks about blacks purportedly made by Sterling. Silver said the Clippers owner was fined $2.5 million and was banned from any association with the team for life. Silver added that he would urge other owners to force a sale of the team.

Silver said the lifetime ban would stand regardless of whether Sterling was ultimately forced to sell the team he’s owned for 33 years. The commissioner said the NBA constitution allowed owners to eject Sterling if three-quarters of the owners voted in favor of such a move, and that he would commence the process of expulsion immediately.

“I fully expect to get the support I need from the other NBA owners to remove him,” said Silver, who appeared visibly agitated throughout his remarks.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban tweeted his support, saying he agreed “100%” with Silver’s findings and the actions taken against Sterling.

Under the terms of Silver’s punishment, the 80-year-old Sterling cannot attend any NBA games or practices and is not allowed to inhabit any Clippers facility or participate in any business or player personnel decision involving the team. Sterling is also barred from the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings and other league activities, Silver said.

The commissioner said the $2.5-million fine was the maximum allowed under the league constitution and would be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Assn. will jointly select those organizations.

Silver said Sterling acknowledged that it was his voice on two recently released recordings in which he told a female friend he disapproved of her bringing black friends to Clippers games.

“The views expressed by Mr. Sterling are deeply offensive and harmful,” Silver said. “That they came from an NBA owner only heightens the damage and my personal outrage.”

Asked if he expected Sterling to fight his decision, Silver said, “I have no idea.”

Silver said it did not matter that Sterling’s comments were recorded without his knowledge in a private setting. “Whether or not these remarks were shared in private,” Silver said, “they are now public and they represent his views.”

article by Ben Bolch via latimes.com