The Atlanta Hawks saga isn’t over yet.
On Sunday, Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson announced he was selling his controlling interest in the team because of the discovery of a racially charged email he wrote two years ago. But the story doesn’t end there for the franchise. Now general manager Danny Ferry is under heavy fire for comments he made about Luol Deng during a free-agency conference call in June.
It was reported Monday that Ferry read an “offensive and racist” remark about Deng, and now some light has been shed on what prompted members of the ownership group to call for an internal investigation that ultimately led to Levenson’s announcement. Late Monday night, Atlanta television statement WSB obtained a two-page letter written by co-owner Michael Gearon that urged Levenson to either fire Ferry or ask for his resignation.
“They were not from a private conversation — they were in a business environment on a business matter in front of a dozen or more people,” Gearon wrote, via USA TODAY Sports. “If Ferry would make such a slur in a semi-public forum, we can only imagine what he has said in smaller groups or to individuals.”
According to USA TODAY, Ferry read aloud a scouting report that said: “He is a good guy overall. But he is not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way.”
Ferry then, according to Gearon’s letter, went on to say, “But he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell your counterfeit stuff out of the back.” Gearon’s letter continues, “Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and implicitly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat.”
Yahoo! Sports reports that Ferry apologized to Deng’s agent, Ron Shade, on Monday. Ferry then released a statement the following day.
“Those words do not reflect my views, or words that I would use to describe an individual and I certainly regret it,” Ferry said in the statement. “I apologize to those I offended and to Luol, who I reached out to Monday morning.
“I am committed to learning from this and deeply regret this situation. I fully understand we have work to do in order to help us create a better organization; one that our players and fans will be proud of, on and off the court, and that is where my focus is moving forward.”
Photo via Twitter/@nycjim