A former employee of the Atlanta Hawks is taking the team to court alleging that he was fired for pointing out racially discriminatory practices being employed by their security team. According to TMZ, Sam Hayes, the former security manager for the Hawks noticed that black stars like Kanye West and Drake were made to undergo an extra level of security that white stars were able to avoid and made an attempt to end the practice which resulted in him getting shown the door.
Last August, Drake and Future performed together at Philips Arena and asked to bypass the venues metal detectors. Their request was denied. The same thing happened to Kanye West, Migos, 2 Chainz, Jeezy, The Dream, Tyler Perry and more. On the flip side, Bon Jovi, Adele, and Radiohead were given free clearance to pass right through.
According to Hayes, he attempted to notify management of these discriminatory practices and was reportedly told that, “Hip-hop acts draw a different crowd and the white acts bring in more money.”
If Hayes’ allegations are true, it provides yet another example of the Hawks racial insensitivity. A few years back, the team came under fire when GM Danny Ferry said that free agent target Loul Deng has “some African in him.” The comment drew a wide backlash with Carmelo Anthony saying that it caused many of the league’s players to avoid signing with the Hawks. “At the end of the day… I think it puts Atlanta back even further now, from that standpoint,” he argued.
Around that same time, an email came to light written by then, co-owner Bruce Levinson where he said that, “My theory is that the black crowd scared away the whites and there are simply not enough affluent black fans to build a significant season ticket base.” Adding, “I think southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority…When I hear some people saying the arena is in the wrong place I think it is code for there are too many blacks at the games.”
For their part, the Hawks vehemently deny that the allegations are true. The team has responded to the lawsuit saying, “[Samuel Hayes] was terminated for poor performance and his claims are baseless. We will defend vigorously.”