Let’s get this out of the way real quick. The First Amendment means the government can not throw me in jail for expressing an unpopular viewpoint. It does not mean that I am shielded from all repercussions brought about by my speech. If I decided to spend the next few hours writing an article blaming all of America’s ills on the feminist movement, the government could not remove it, or arrest me for writing it, no matter how incredibly idiotic any thinking person would find that article. I couldn’t then apply for a job with the National Organization for Women and claim a First Amendment violation when they decide not to hire me. The countless people who would rightfully rip my article to shreds, and more than likely metaphorically rip my head off and force the disembodied skull up my rectum, could not then be accused of violating my First Amendment rights. We all have the right to free speech, not the right to consequence free speech. Stupid is still stupid. Racist is still racist. Vile, is still vile. Countless times during the Donald Sterling fiasco I heard the argument that the NBA had no right to force him out of the league, because of the First Amendment. *headdesk* The NBA is not a government run organization. They have the right to protect their image and product by limiting who can own a franchise in the league.
Does the NBA attract racist owners, or is it just especially good at exposing them? For the second time this year, an NBA owner’s racism has cost him his team. This time, instead of a taped racist phone call, the evidence is a racist email. “I would have got away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling technology.” What does Satan’s media outlet have to say about it?:
Bruce Levenson, who has led the ownership group of the Atlanta Hawks since 2004, informed N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver on Saturday that he intended to sell the team, effectively cutting short a league investigation into an email that Mr. Levenson sent two years ago to fellow Hawks executives detailing his thoughts on how the team could attract more white fans.
Well that doesn’t sound all that bad. I mean, it doesn’t sound good, but it isn’t a Donald Sterling. Let’s see what the email said:
On Sunday, when the issue came to light, the Hawks released the text of the August 2012 email, in which Mr. Levenson speculated that the team’s black fans had “scared away the whites” and that there were “not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.”
“I think Southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority,” Mr. Levenson said in his email, pointing out that he had earlier told the executive team that he wanted “some white cheerleaders” and “music familiar to a 40-year-old white guy,” and that he thought “the kiss cam is too black.”
Mr. Levenson’s email was sent on the night of Aug. 25, 2012, to Danny Ferry, the team’s general manager, and Ed Peskowitz and Todd Foreman, two members of his ownership group. While commenting on various aspects of team business, Mr. Levenson included a long passage linking the team’s struggles to sell season-ticket packages to its inability to attract white fans and corporations. In bullet points, he observed that 70 percent of the crowd seemed to be black, that the cheerleaders were black, that music played at the arena and at postgame concerts was hip-hop or gospel, and that “there are few fathers and sons at the games.” He also noted that the racial makeup at Hawks games did not match other arenas around the league.
On the plus side, there is no video of Mr. Levenson knocking his fiance out cold in an elevator.