GM Danny Ferry Disciplined by Atlanta Hawks For Luol Deng Comments
As the NBA’s second racial scandal erupted earlier this week, the Atlanta Hawks have “disciplined” the man in the center of the controversy, GM Danny Ferry, according to Hawks’ CEO Steve Koonin.
Ferry keeps job
Koonin made the statement via the Hawks’ flagship radio station last Tuesday. He added that Ferry will be “allowed to keep his job managing the team”. Koonin did not specify what the punishment on Ferry was, but said it was based on the report given by the Atlanta Law firm Alston and Bird, which was tasked by the Hawks to do the independent investigation on the matter.
According to Koonin, the law firm has “interviewed at least 19 people and reviewed some 24,000 documents” during the course of its investigation. The documents included every email Ferry sent as the General Manager of the Altanta Hawks. Koonin also confirmed that there was no other negative finding found against Ferry.
The three month investigation by the law firm has also led to the discovery of an email sent by Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson in 2012. Levenson voluntarily reported the email to the NBA office in July, and the league has also looked into the matter. Levenson has since decided to sell his stake in the team, citing the “offensive and inappropriate” email as the reason.
Reading a scouting report
Ferry is accused of making racist comments against free agent Luol Deng last June, during a conference call with the team owners where they were discussing the team’s free agent targets. That conference call was recorded, according to a letter sent by minority owner Michael Gearon Jr. to Levenson. According to reports, Ferry described Deng as “having a little African in him” during the call.
But as media outlets got hold of “partial transcripts” of the call, it was discovered that those weren’t the only racially charged words Ferry uttered against Deng. In a statement, Ferry has maintained that he was merely reading scouting reports from various sources.
The racist comments have sparked calls for Ferry’s resignation, but Ferry got a shot in the arm when the NBA commissioner opined that he should not be fired from his job. The team’s decision to merely “discipline” him also shows the franchise’s support for Ferry, who gave the team optimism when he hired Steve Budenholzer from the Spurs in 2013.
The Hawks reached the playoffs last season and took the top seeded Pacers to the seven game limit before bowing out. However, this scandal puts everything on hold, as the search for a new ownership begins. It also remains to be seen how Ferry will handle the crisis.
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