Michael Gearon is largely responsible for the major impending shakeup atop the Atlanta Hawks’ power structure, but “Gearon is no whistle-blowing hero for racial justice,” according to a new report.
A transcript of the conference call on which Hawks general manager Danny Ferry made racist comments about Luol Deng shows the complicated politics within the organization. In the transcript, which was procured by Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski, Gearon, a limited ownership partner, appears to immediately recognize the controversial potential of those comments by Ferry, with whom Gearon had clashed.
Deng has “got some African in him,” Ferry reportedly said on the Friday afternoon conference call, before launching into a bizarre aside in which he claims the veteran forward would sell counterfeit goods out the back of his nonexistent store.
“Oh, my God, that comment sounds like Sterling on TMZ,” Gearon said, according to Wojnarowski.
That call sparked an internal investigation that led to majority owner Bruce Levenson self-reporting a racially charged email and promising to sell the team as soon as possible. It sounds like that would be just fine with Gearon, who once held a position of prominence within the Hawks and was angling to regain some of his power.
“Looking back, the timing was perfect for Gearon to bring everything crashing down: closing time on a Friday night in June, an impatient GM with little, if any, use for the participants on a conference call and a recorder waiting for Ferry to step into the biggest mistake of his professional life,” Wojnarowski wrote.
Wojnarowski stresses the fact that Ferry is no victim, nor does Ferry’s insistence that he only quoted the remarks about Deng from a scouting report seem to line up with how he makes those comments in the transcript.
There are, Wojnarowski notes, “no heroes here, no winners.” It’s just an ugly situation all around.
Photo via Daniel Shirey/USA TODAY Sports Images
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