TIME Basketball

North Carolina Releases Wainstein Report on Academic Scandal

Kenneth Wainstein
Kenneth Wainstein, lead investigator into academic irregularities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, holds a copy of his findings following a special joint meeting in Chapel Hill, N.C., on Oct. 22, 2014 Gerry Broome—AP

The report mentions that athletes' academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill released the report on its latest investigation into alleged academic fraud on Wednesday.

The report details how a lack of oversight allowed Department of African and Afro-American Studies administrator Deborah Crowder and former chairman Julius Nyang’oro to create so-called “paper classes.” In these classes, students received high grades with “little regard” for the quality of their work.

Nyang’oro and Crowder have been implicated in previous probes into the situation for steering athletes into the aforementioned classes, an issue that was found by a 2012 probe to have dated to the 1990s. This latest investigation was conducted by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein at the request of the university.

While Wainstein’s report still places most of the blame for the fraud in the department at Nyang’oro and Crowder​, it points to the surrounding culture at North Carolina for allowing it to happen. Wainstein mentions that athletes’ academic counselors directed them to take the classes in question, that there wasn’t sufficient external review of the department and that a belief within the school that fraud couldn’t happen there prevented proper oversight.

Wainstein told reporters Wednesday that Crowder, who was largely responsible for creating the fraudulent classes, was motivated by a belief that UNC’s athletes weren’t being supported by the university.

University chancellor Carol Folt said that disciplinary action will be taken against those connected to the probe.

“It is a case where you have bad actions of a few and inaction of many more,” school chancellor Carol Folt told reporters in a conference call shortly before the report’s release. “It is shocking and people are taking full responsibility.”

Wainstein said he has shared his report with the NCAA, which announced this summer that it had re-opened its investigation into North Carolina after new individuals were available to talk to investigators for the first time.

In the report, Wainstein says current North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams became uncomfortable with the nature of the classes in question and attempted to steer his players away from the department. Former star Rashad McCants accused the school of fraud earlier this year. McCants chose not to speak with Wainstein’s investigation.

A previous NCAA investigation resulted in a postseason ban for the football team in 2012 and a loss of scholarships. Wainstein’s report describes academic counselors recommending the department’s classes to football coaches.

From a joint statement released by North Carolina and the NCAA:

The information included in the Wainstein report will be reviewed by the university and the enforcement staff under the same standards that are applied in all NCAA infractions cases. Due to rules put in place by NCAA membership, neither the university nor the enforcement staff will comment on the substance of the report as it relates to possible NCAA rules violations.

It’s unknown when the NCAA’s investigation will be concluded.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME NBA

Donald Sterling Withdraws Lawsuit Against the NBA

The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for "deeply offensive and harmful" racist comments that sparked a national firestorm. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined him a maximum $2.5 million dollars and called on other owners to force him to sell his team
The NBA banned Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life for "deeply offensive and harmful" racist comments that sparked a national firestorm. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver fined him a maximum $2.5 million dollars and called on other owners to force him to sell his team ROBYN BECK—AFP/Getty Images

Sterling will no longer pursue his case against NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Sterling's wife Shelly, which accused both parties of fraud and of inflicting "severe emotional damage"

Former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling has dropped one of his two lawsuits against the NBA, according to the Los Angeles Times‘ Nathan Fenno.

Sterling will no longer pursue his case against NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Sterling’s wife Shelly, which accused both parties of fraud and of inflicting “severe emotional damage” during his forced sale of the team earlier this year. The move frees up Sterling to pursue his other suit against the NBA, an antitrust suit that seeks more than $1 billion in damages.

MORE: NBA Atlantic Division Preview: Can the Raptors repeat as division champs?

“We believe that we can more efficiently address all the issues in our pending federal action,” Sterling’s attorney Bobby Samini told the Times Monday.

The news comes on the same day that a judge threw out the defamation lawsuit of Sterling’s mistress V. Stiviano against Shelly Sterling. Judge Richard Fruin said Stiviano could produce no evidence Shelly Sterling defamed her. Shelly Sterling called Los Angeles Police to Donald’s home earlier this month, indicating there had been a break-in at the home. Responding officers found no evidence of a break-in, however, and instead found Donald Sterling entertaining Stiviano.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME celebrity

After Drake Totally Airballed a 3-Pointer, Nothing Was the Same

He was on his worst behavior on the court

Over the weekend, Drake was warming up with the University of Kentucky’s basketball team, because he’s a big basketball fan and the Wildcats are one of his favorite teams. Sadly, though, Drizzy’s participation indicated that he should probably stay beside the court, where he can safely lint-roll his pants, instead of on the court. Because when he attempted to go for a three-point shot, this is what happened:

Oh man. Aiiiirbaaaallll.

Here’s another angle which really captures the hopelessness:

Oh, Drake. Maybe you should just stick to doing Drake things like rapping and manufacturing lint rollers.

TIME Basketball

Thunder Star Kevin Durant Has Foot Fracture

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant poses for photos during the Oklahoma City Thunder's Media Day at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City on Sept. 29, 2014. Brett Deering—AP

Update: Oct. 13, 6:07 a.m. ET

(OKLAHOMA CITY) — Kevin Durant, the NBA’s leading scorer of this decade and the reigning MVP, will likely miss the first six to eight weeks of the season after fracturing a bone in his right foot.

The Oklahoma City star forward complained of an ache in his foot after practice Saturday, the team said. Tests showed he has a “Jones fracture,” a broken bone at the base of his small toe. Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Sunday that surgery is likely, and that similar injuries have forced players to miss six to eight weeks.

The Thunder open the season Oct. 29 at Portland. A six-week absence could have Durant back for the start of December, with about 65 games remaining.

“We’re really fortunate to be catching it when we’re catching it,” Presti said. “Very fortunate that Kevin notified us yesterday, and we’re catching it kind of on the front end, before this became a little bit more of an acute issue.”

The Thunder have a couple of high-profile matchups in December, playing LeBron James and the Cavaliers on Dec. 11 and going to San Antonio for a Western Conference finals rematch on Christmas.

Durant won the scoring title last season, collected his first MVP award and led the Thunder to the Western Conference finals. He skipped playing for the U.S. national team in this summer’s World Cup so he could get additional rest. He played in two preseason games before complaining of pain.

On Media Day, Durant was asked about witnessing Indiana Pacers forward Paul George’s grotesque broken leg during a USA Basketball scrimmage and offered perspective on injuries.

“You could get hurt walking outside,” Durant said. “I know you hear that a lot, but you can get hurt anywhere. Just knowing that keeps you kind of levelheaded, and at peace with what happens on that court. If you worry about it too much, you start to get scared a little bit. So I just try not to worry about it.”

The Thunder were forced to play for nearly two months last season without their other All-Star, Russell Westbrook, because of a knee injury, but remained among the West’s best because of Durant.

He averaged 32 points, 7.4 points and 5.5 assists and was an overwhelming winner of MVP honors, ending LeBron James’ bid for a third straight. Durant had a run of 41 consecutive games with at least 25 points, the third-longest streak in NBA history.

He has won four of the last five scoring titles, and was at his best during Westbrook’s absence from late December through the All-Star break, averaging 35 points and 6.3 assists as the Thunder went 20-7.

For the first time, Durant will have an extended absence. He has never missed more than eight games in a season, and he has missed 16 regular season games in his seven NBA seasons. Now, it will be up to Westbrook to raise his game while Durant is sidelined, or the Thunder risk falling behind quickly in the powerful West.

“You don’t replace Kevin Durant,” Presti said. “It’s not going to be one person, it’s going to be a collective mindset. We know we’re a better basketball team with Kevin Durant on the floor, but we can have some influence over how good we are in the meantime. We’re certainly not going to be looking at the calendar waiting for him to get back. I don’t think he’d want us to do that.”

___

AP Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney in New York contributed to this report.

TIME NBA

NBA Player Got Arrested Again After Domestic Violence Charges

Jeff Taylor
Charlotte Bobcats guard Jeff Taylor (44) shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Indiana Pacers and the Charlotte Bobcats (now the Hornets) in Indianapolis on Dec. 13, 2013. Aj Mast — AP

He had been booked on domestic assault charges earlier the same day

Police in East Lansing, Mich., reportedly arrested Charlotte Hornets small forward Jeff Taylor for a second time on Thursday afternoon and charged the player with malicious destruction of a building.

The damage inflicted on the building was valued at less than $200, and he was later bonded out, according to a local NBC affiliate.

The arrest comes only hours after Taylor was charged with domestic assault, assault and malicious destruction of property.

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the Swedish-American small forward was allegedly involved in an altercation at the East Lansing Marriott; however, authorities have yet to release a detailed account of what happened, according to ESPN.

“The Charlotte Hornets were made aware of the incident involving Jeffery Taylor early this evening. The organization is in the process of gathering more information and doing our due diligence,” read a statement released by the Hornets. “This is a matter that we take very seriously.”

An NBA spokesperson reportedly told the sports broadcaster that the league had commenced an investigation into the matter as well.

The allegations of Taylor’s misconduct come days after the NBA promised to review its policies regarding domestic violence in the wake of the NFL’s recent experiences with Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson.

“We learn from other league’s experiences. We’re studying everything that’s been happening in the NFL,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told a press conference in New York City earlier this week.

TIME Qatar

Qatar Women Withdraw Over Asian Games Hijab Ban

"On the one hand, everyone wants more women to participate in these games and, on the other hand, they're discouraging Muslim women who want to play in hijab"

(INCHEON, SOUTH KOREA) — The Qatari women’s basketball team withdrew from the Asian Games on Thursday to protest an international rule that bans players from wearing Muslim headscarves in competition.

The dispute over the Qatari players’ refusal to remove their hijabs — regarded by some as a rule that discriminates against Muslim women — has created a major stir at the games and raised new questions about international rules banning the head coverings.

Qatar delegation leader Khalid al-Jabir said the team had decided to withdraw and was already preparing to return home.

The decision appeared to take by surprise games organizers, who have tried to portray the regional Olympic-style event as a showcase of diversity.

Qatar was due to play Nepal on Thursday afternoon but did not show up at the venue. Officials took their places, starting line-ups were distributed to the media and announced to the spectators, but none of the Qatari players arrived.

“We did not get any intimation from the Qatar team on whether they’ll come for the match or not,” technical delegate Heros Avanesian said. “We had no option but to wait for them before awarding the match to the other team.”

Al-Jabir said the team had no choice but to pull out.

“We’re not forfeiting games — we’re not being allowed to play,” al-Jabir had said before the game was supposed to start. “On the one hand, everyone wants more women to participate in these games and, on the other hand, they’re discouraging Muslim women who want to play in hijab.”

Although sports ranging from bowling to badminton allow hijabs to be worn during Asian Games competition, basketball’s world governing body does not allow them in international competition. The issue reached an impasse on Wednesday, when the Qatari women forced the issue by refusing to play without their hijabs against Mongolia.

Asian Games officials said they did not receive any instructions from FIBA to allow head coverings, and were simply following the rules which restrict the use of headgear, hair accessories, and jewelry when they awarded the result to Mongolia.

Such restrictions were initially designed for the safety of players, but have recently been challenged on cultural and religious grounds.

Regulations about head coverings in basketball came into focus this year when two male Sikh players from India were told to remove their turbans during the Asia Cup in July in China.

Earlier this month, FIBA said it was launching a two-year trial phase allowing some players to wear head coverings. But the Swiss-based FIBA issued a clarifying statement saying it “allows exceptions to be applied only at the national level and the Asian Games is an international event.”

FIBA will evaluate the rule again next year and determine whether to allow head coverings at some level of international competition from next summer. A full review in 2016 will decide if it will become a permanent rule change after the 2016 Olympics.

In Doha, Qataris interviewed by The Associated Press said the players should have been allowed to compete while wearing the hijab.

“The girls already have a lot of social pressures,” said bank employee Faisal Salman. “Their determination to play basketball or football should be supported and encouraged by the authorities and sports bodies. Instead (they are) preventing them and discriminating against them.”

TIME Race

White Americans Need To Get Used To Being in the Minority

Indiana Pacers v Atlanta Hawks - Game Six
Mike Zarrilli—Getty Images

Gregory Rodriguez is publisher of Zócalo Public Square, for which he writes the Imperfect Union column.

While it lacks the cartoon-like buffoonery of Donald Sterling’s antics, the Bruce Levenson email affair tells us a whole lot more about the serious racial challenges facing America today

It’s not surprising that the release of Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson’s racially provocative email about his team’s fan base didn’t inspire the same level of public outrage as the secretly recorded rantings of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling. The Levenson story lacked the pathos, the sordid sexual angle, the dysfunctional marriage, and the irrational court maneuverings of a man whose own family trust declared him “mentally incapacitated.”

What’s more, as soon as Levenson knew the 2012 email would be released, he apologized for writing “inflammatory nonsense,” and (perhaps inspired by the $2 billion Clippers sales price) agreed to sell his controlling interest in the team. The Hawks owner’s pre-emptive capitulation deprived us all of the opportunity to engage in yet another all-consuming 24/7 media frenzy in which we could have endlessly chewed over the contents of his infamous email, and their significance.

I am not usually a fan of flooding the zone on the bad behavior of the rich and famous, but this story might have warranted it. Because while it lacks the cartoon-like buffoonery of Donald Sterling’s antics, the Levenson affair tells us a whole lot more about the serious racial challenges facing America today.

If nothing else, Levenson’s email should remind us how old-fashioned racism—the belief in the innate inferiority of members of an entire race—isn’t the only source of racial conflict in America. Levenson didn’t use racist epithets in his email to the team’s general manager. Nor did he articulate a disdain for African-Americans in general. What he did do, however, was express his belief that white fans were uncomfortable being outnumbered by black fans and that, given this assessment, he’d prefer a broader white fan base than a black one.

Did Levenson belittle the importance of African-American basketball fans? Absolutely. But ultimately his comments were about demographics, and the relative status and comfort implicit in being a member of a majority group.

When Americans refer to majority and minority populations, they are generally speaking of the demographics of the nation at large, which has always had a white Protestant majority. But since the founding of the republic, cities, towns, and states across the country have experienced dynamic population shifts that have turned local minorities into majorities and vice versa.

Germans became the majority in Milwaukee in the 1860s. Irish-Americans replaced white Anglo Saxon Protestants as the majority population in Boston around 1900. By 1980, blacks were the new majority in Baltimore. In 2001, whites became a minority in California. All of these demographic changes created intergroup tensions.

Now I’m not arguing that ethnicity represents as deep a divide as race in America. The history of black-white relations reveals levels of cruelty and enmity that even the bitterest tensions between Massachusetts WASPs and the Irish never did. But the principle is the same. The relative size of ethnic and racial groups can influence how members of these groups get along with one another. That’s because in intergroup relations – as in basketball – size matters. The majority status of racial or ethnic groups in any given location carries with it enough benefits to induce competition and tension.

A 2007 study of Illinois residents found that living in a “higher percentage same-race neighborhood” can improve “the emotional well-being” of residents. This research strongly implies that residents of such neighborhoods are seeking emotional as well as economic benefits in togetherness. Presumably, the racial and ethnic kinship of majority group membership shores up identity, protects against discrimination by non-group members, and provides networks and support.

Similarly, a 2004 study out of Germany found that, particularly in the Western world, minority and majority memberships have “distinct effects on a variety of important social psychological phenomena.” Most importantly, newfound minority status can create “a state of uneasy mindfulness” in individuals because they are suddenly more aware of their group identity. Majority members “can take their existence for granted,” the German study concluded—and as a result, “they tend to forget their identity (without losing it).” Minority members, however, can feel obliged to expend greater amounts of emotional energy asserting their identities and making space for themselves in the world.

Perhaps because Levenson himself is Jewish, he seems to implicitly understand the burdens of being in the minority. His email states explicitly that he thinks Southern whites “simply were not comfortable being in an arena or at a bar where they were in the minority.” But rather than find ways to make both groups—and ideally others—feel welcome and included in the culture of Hawks fandom, he sided with whites, in part because he had already concluded, as he wrote in the damning email, that “there are simply not enough affluent blacks to build a significant season ticket base.”

The facts of the Levenson affair are very much specific to the universe of basketball fans in Atlanta, Georgia. But because demographers keep telling us that Anglos are projected to become a minority in the United States sometime around 2043, there is a broader, more far-reaching cautionary tale here.

Over the next several decades, how will whites react to losing their majority status in cities and counties across the country? How will prominent business owners and politicians seek to ease possible tensions? Will their long tenure as the historic majority make whites’ transition to minority status all the more difficult?

No, Levenson’s email won’t get the same attention as Donald Sterling’s pathetic rants. But its content and twisted logic speak to a far more endemic problem facing a rapidly changing America.

This piece originally appeared on Zócalo Public Square.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME NFL

NBA Star Defends Ray Rice in Controversial and Quickly Deleted Tweets

Paul George deleted and apologized for his tweets after immediate backlash

Indiana Pacers star Paul George deleted and apologized for controversial—and quickly criticized—tweets Thursday morning that defended disgraced former Batlimore Ravens star Ray Rice against public condemnation for domestic abuse.

Here are screen grabs of the now-deleted tweets, analyzing Janay Rice’s role in the attack. He excused the elevator attack both because Janay forgave him:

And because she allegedly provoked him:

The NBA player then apologized:

Since the release of a video showing Rice knocking his wife unconscious in a casino elevator, Twitter has become a key platform to discuss domestic violence—inspiring hashtags including #WhyILeft and #WhyIStayed to shed light on the mindset of victims of abuse.

TIME Race

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist; He’s a Businessman

Bruce Levenson
Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson Dave Tulis—AP

Sure, there are assumptions he makes that are cringeworthy—but the questions about how to attract more white fans were entirely reasonable.

Well, the pitchforks are already sharpened and the torches lit anyway, so rather than let them go to waste, why not drag another so-called racist before the court of public opinion and see how much ratings-grabbing, head-shaking and race-shaming we can squeeze out of it? After all, the media got so much gleeful, hand-wringing mileage out of Don Sterling and Michael Brown.

The only problem is that Atlanta Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson is no Donald Sterling. Nor is his email racist. In fact, his worst crime is misguided white guilt.

I read Levenson’s email. Here’s what I concluded: Levenson is a businessman asking reasonable questions about how to put customers in seats. In the email, addressed to Hawks president Danny Ferry, Levenson wonders whether (according to his observations) the emphasis on hip-hop and gospel music and the fact that the cheerleaders are black, the bars are filled with 90% blacks, kiss cams focus on black fans and time-out contestants are always black has an effect on keeping away white fans.

From left: Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Dominique Wilkins Courtesy of Iconomy, LLC

Seems reasonable to ask those questions. If his arena was filled mostly with whites and he wanted to attract blacks, wouldn’t he be asking how they could de-emphasize white culture and bias toward white contestants and cheerleaders? Don’t you think every corporation in America that is trying to attract a more diverse customer base is discussing how to feature more blacks or Asians or Latinos in their TV ads?

Back when the original Law & Order first launched, there was a cast shake-up that added more women, reportedly in an effort to attract more female viewers. MTV shows like Finding Carter and Teen Wolf can’t get through an emotional scene without a pop song coming in to sing to the viewer what they should be feeling, because that’s what their demographic wants. Car companies hire specialized advertising agencies to create ads to appeal specifically to women, blacks and Latinos. That’s business.

Sure, there are a few assumptions he makes that make me cringe a little. For example: “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.” On the other hand, I have no evidence that he’s wrong on either count. Even if he is, the question still needed to be raised, because racism is a realistic possibility as to why whites in Atlanta may not be coming.

To Levenson’s credit, in that same paragraph, he dismisses fans who complained about the arena’s site as code for racist fear that “there are too many blacks at the games.” He further decries the white perception that even though the percentage of blacks in attendance had lessened, they still feel it’s higher and therefore somehow threatening. His outrage seems authentic.

Businesspeople should have the right to wonder how to appeal to diverse groups in order to increase business. They should even be able to make minor insensitive gaffes if there is no obvious animosity or racist intent. This is a business email that is pretty harmless in terms of insulting anyone — and pretty fascinating in terms of seeing how the business of running a team really works.

The thing that makes me mad is that Levenson was too quick to rend his clothing and shout mea culpa. In his apology, he wrote, “By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans.” But that’s not the message in the email at all. If the seats had been filled, even if by all blacks, the email wouldn’t have been written. He wasn’t valuing white fans over blacks; he was trying to figure out a way to change what he thought was the white perception in Atlanta so he could sell more tickets. That’s his job.

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player. Follow him on Twitter (@KAJ33) and Facebook (facebook.com/KAJ). He also writes a weekly column for the L.A. Register.

TIME Basketball

Atlanta Hawks Owner Selling Team After Admitting Racist Email

Bruce Levenson
Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson cheers from the stands in the second half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers in Atlanta, April 26, 2014. John Bazemore—AP

Bruce Levenson admitted to sending a racist email about Hawks fans in 2012

Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson said Sunday he will sell his shares of the team after admitting to sending racist emails in regard to the Hawks’ fan base.

In a statement released Sunday, Levenson said he voluntarily reported the 2012 email chain to the National Basketball Association in July because he believes the league should have a “zero tolerance for racism.” Though the NBA has not yet completed its independent review of the emails, Levenson said Sunday he will sell his controlling interest in the Hawks franchise.

“I’m truly embarrassed by my words in that e-mail, and I apologize to the members of the Hawks family and all of our fans,” Levenson said in a statement published in full on Basketball Insiders.

In the 2012 email, Levenson said he “trivialized our fans by making clichéd assumptions about their interests (i.e. hip hop vs. country, white vs. black cheerleaders, etc.) and by stereotyping their perceptions of one another (i.e. that white fans might be afraid of our black fans).”

“By focusing on race, I also sent the unintentional and hurtful message that our white fans are more valuable than our black fans,” Levenson said. “If you’re angry about what I wrote, you should be. I’m angry at myself, too. It was inflammatory nonsense.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his own statement Sunday that he commends Levenson for “putting the best interests of the Hawks, the Atlanta community, and the NBA first.”

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin will reportedly oversee team operations as the squad seeks a buyer. The Hawks owner’s response stands in stark contrast to the ugly removal of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was forced to sell his team and banned from the NBA following the publication of phone recordings in which Sterling made racist comments.

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