And while football fans (and eventually soccer hooligans) can revel in Reed’s unqualified success in the Falcons new stadium, and we may have forgotten that the Thrashers went into witness relocation (somewhere in Canada?) in 2011, the sting of the Braves leaving for Cobb County come the 2017 season still throbs. Especially as we wait for someone to buy controlling interest of the Hawks from disgraced co-owner Bruce Levenson, whose in-house email theorizing that “the blacks crowd scared away the whites” was recently released, fuelling public outrage and forcing him to sell. Reed told reporters at City Hall that he has met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and that the league shares Reed’s commitment to finding a buyer who’ll keep the team in Atlanta.
Reed said he has talked to several prospective buyers—some from Atlanta, others from outside the U.S.—and expects a new owner by year’s end.
Reed has been trying to stay out in front of this narrative to prevent it from becoming an embarrassment for the city. At the press conference, he acknowledged what would be a cruel irony: An owner offending fans with racially insensitive comments, which results in him selling the team for a tidy profit while the city loses the franchise. Said Reed: “That’s not going to be the story.”