9:30pm: In an interview with Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said there will be other disciplinary actions taken, including actions against GM Danny Ferry. It turns out the internal review that unearthed Levenson’s email was actually prompted by an incident involving the GM.
When the Hawks held a meeting in early June to discuss free agency, a player was being discussed and Ferry cited a background report that included an “offensive and racist” remark. “Instead of editing it, he said the comment,” Koonin told Vivlamore.
“I support Steve’s leadership and greatly appreciate his support,” Ferry said. “I look to learn from this situation and help us become a better organization.”
6:35pm: Not far removed from the Donald Sterling ordeal, another NBA owner is on his way out of the league thanks to a racial scandal. Hawks owner Bruce Levenson has agreed to sell his team after an inflammatory email from 2012 came to the surface. When word of the email first broke, the identity of the owner was unknown, which left many to wonder if they were the one caught in the crosshairs, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.
More than one owner wondered if they were busted for saying something off-color and team executives asked others if it was their club’s owner that was in trouble. Before Levenson’s identity was revealed, Wojnarowski writes, several people around the league were bracing for a severe punishment.
When Sterling’s scandal broke and the NBA was deliberating how to handle the situation, Mavs owner Mark Cuban expressed concern that ousting the then-Clippers owner would set a dangerous precedent going forward. While others didn’t speak out on the issue, Wojnarowski hears that Cuban was not alone in his sentiments.
“Adam [Silver] had far less support on Sterling than anyone knows,” a league source who is in frequent contact with the commissioner told Wojnarowski.
Meanwhile, that same source says that the NBA’s claim that Levenson blew the whistle on himself is simply a matter of semantics. It’s not clear when Levenson truly gave the NBA his mea culpa, but it’s clear that there could be more owners in trouble going forward.