According to Deadspin, Atlanta Hawks GM Wes Wilcox made some offensive remarks while speaking before season ticket holders at event in early December. In a sorry attempt at crowd control, Wilcox resorted to a racially charged joke, as retold by Hawks fan Clarenton Crawford and another fan who attended the event.
“I know you guys may be angry with me, but I’m used to it because I have a black wife and three mixed kids, so I’m used to people being angry and argumentative,” Wilcox said.
Wilcox later issued an apology through a statement to Deadspin:
At an early December chalk talk, I made a self-deprecating comment at my own expense regarding my family, which is multi-racial. This joke offended Mr. Crawford and his wife and for that, I apologize.”
Crawford pursued the matter further with Hawks CEO Steve K. The two shared an email exchange that eventually led to a sit-down between Crawford, K, and Hawks senior VP Nzinga Shaw. K offered his apologies on behalf of Wilcox, while Shaw, who also serves as the Hawks’ chief diversity and inclusion officer, said Wilcox was placed in counseling.
Two years ago, former Hawks general manager Danny Ferry was let go after issuing racist remarks regarding then-free agent Luol Deng and other fellow Africans. The ensuing investigation into Ferry’s comments revealed that former Hawks team owner Bruce Levenson stated in an email to his staff that he valued white fans more than black fans.
Both Ferry and Levenson are no longer with the franchise.