restricted access The Sale of the Atlanta Hawks: Is It Racism or White Ownership Playing the Race Card?

Whether you are a fan of professional sports or not, it is likely that you are familiar with the Donald Sterling and Los Angeles Clippers race controversy; but very few outside of sports are familiar with the Bruce Levenson, Danny Ferry, and Atlanta Hawks (LFAH) race scandal. The LFAH controversy is concerning because the stereotypes, discrimination, and racism were directed at a prospective Atlanta Hawks professional basketball employee and involved multiple acts of ethnic incivility. This research inquiry is a case study, and the method of exploration is a media content analysis with data that include print newspapers, Internet articles, archival documents, and popular magazines. In addition to examining the presence of new racism, cultural racism, race talk, and disclaimers, the paper will explore whether the Hawks' ownership decision to sell the franchise represents White guilt or playing the race card. The implications for the prevalence of racism in the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the civic engagement of professional athletes are discussed.