It’s not often one turns himself in for a crime that was never noticed. It’s not typical for one to incriminate himself, to make himself look foolish, or in this case — racist. Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson revealed an e-mail of his from 2012 that reveals racist attitudes.
With former L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling recently having sold the Clippers franchise for over $2 billion, this can’t help but look a little suspicious.
It seems almost comical to imply Levingston is doing this to get rich, but sometimes comedy is reality, and it’s hard not to think Levenson is hurting his reputation to help his wallet.
Making the Hawks a team in need of a savior and owner to replace a racist money monger is a good story. It helped Steve Ballmer fortify his massive ego by sinking far too much money into a franchise, and lining the pockets of Mr. Sterling.
Levenson said he spoke mostly on stereotypes, like music preference and the difference between white and black cheerleaders…he said he stereotyped the perceptions that white fans might be afraid of black ones. It’s all throwback ignorance, but it lacked the vitriol of the Sterling phone call. It’s not that one is necessarily more repulsive than the other, but that Levenson easily could have left his private business private.
Yet he chose not to.
There could be the notion that “white guilt” overtook his conscience and he didn’t feel he should own the team. That’s reasonable and a valid explanation. But it’s just too hard not to think this is being done for some sort of financial leverage. It’s not exactly as though domain over the Atlanta Hawks has been considered financially rewarding nor coveted.
Maybe now it will be.
Maybe Levenson is on the verge of a major payday thanks to throwing his own self under a massive racist bus. It may not even matter in the grand scheme of things, but the whole nature of his turning himself in is just so highly suspect. The real motivations may lie somewhere in between, but Sterling is setting a bad precedent with his highly profitable sale.
Maybe this is all just paranoia on the part of this journalist, but the prevailing attitudes towards racism in this country have made it an all-too-easy out for those looking to escape a given situation. It’s not as though Levingston is going to suffer for his confession. Most won’t even care. But he may yet get rich.