Hawks GM Wes Wilcox apologizes after offending season ticket holder with joke about race

Sports figures, like the rest of us, get their foots caught in their mouth sometimes. That’s exactly what happened to Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox at a meeting with around 200 team ticket holders and other club representatives in December.

Deadspin provided the details for this story, noting that Wilcox made a racially insensitive remark during discussions with the ticket holders.

As he attempted to diffuse some heated discussion about why certain players weren’t getting as many minutes as they did to start the year, the executive quipped, “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.”

Not surprisingly, that comment didn’t sit well with at least one family.

Per Deadspin, season ticket holder Clarenton Crawford, who is black, said he and his spouse were “livid’ about what Wilcox had said. After stewing for a week, Crawford sent an email to discuss the issue with Hawks CEO Steve Koonin.

Responding to this, Wilcox apologized for his comment in 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.”

Koonin and Crawford ended up setting up a meeting this past week after an initial response by the CEO failed to assuage the ticket holder. They were joined by senior VP Nzinga Shaw. In the end, the meeting resulted in Shaw saying she would be counseling Wilcox.