Atlanta Hawks co-owner selling stake in team after “inappropriate” email

FILE - In this April 26, 2014, file photo, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson cheers from the stands in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in Atlanta. Levenson said Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, he is selling his controlling interest in the team, in part due to an inflammatory email he said he wrote in an attempt "to bridge Atlanta's racial sports divide." (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

ATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson says he is selling his controlling interest in the team, in part due to an inflammatory email he says he wrote in an attempt “to bridge Atlanta’s racial sports divide.”

Levenson says he regrets the email sent to the team’s co-owners and general manager Danny Ferry two years ago as “inappropriate and offensive.” In a statement released by the team on Sunday, 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.

Levenson says he voluntarily reported the email to the NBA.

NBA 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.

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