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Atlanta mayor: Plenty of potential Hawks buyers (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 17 Sep 2014 00:12:22 PDT)
The mayor has already heard from plenty of potential buyers for the Atlanta Hawks. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he expects the sale of the team to move briskly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. ''All six of those prospective buyers will have to go through a process to be vetted by the NBA.

Atlanta mayor: Talked to 6 possible Hawks owners (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:10:32 PDT)
Mayor Kasim Reed said Tuesday he has already talked with six potential buyers of the Atlanta Hawks and expects a sale of the team to move quickly after racially charged comments by owner Bruce Levenson and general manager Danny Ferry. Flanked by Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins and other city leaders, Reed said the crisis engulfing the NBA team would be solved ''the Atlanta way'' and predicted the franchise would come out stronger in the end. The Hawks have been under fire since it was revealed Levenson sent an email two years ago theorizing that many suburban whites would not attend NBA games because of the team's African-American fans.

Hawks apologize to players, city for racism row
(Sat, 13 Sep 2014 16:29:43 PDT)
Atlanta Hawks chief executive Steve Koonin posted an apology letter on the NBA team's website Saturday, a week after a racism scandal erupted around the Hawks' owner and general manager. Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson announced last weekend that he would sell his controlling interest in the Hawks in the wake of a 2012 e-mail in which he said, among other things, that "the black crowd scared away the whites." Last Monday, the probe that led to Levenson's decision was found to have started last June after general manager Danny Ferry made racist remarks about African-born British NBA star Luol Deng during a conference call discussing potential Hawks free agent options.

Hawks apologize for racially charged comments (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 13 Sep 2014 12:14:36 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks released an open letter of apology to fans and city of Atlanta on Saturday, saying the organization ''did not do the right thing'' to correct racially inflammatory words and innuendos ''over a period of years.''

Danny Ferry's fatal mistake: He never owned his comments (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 21:10:56 PDT)
Danny Ferry has likely served his last day as the Hawks' GM, and he can blame only himself.

Hawks facing challenges on court and in stands (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:55:17 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Racially inflammatory comments made by Hawks' management left the NBA team facing a crisis that threatens its progress on the court and in the stands.

Hawks GM Ferry takes indefinite leave of absence (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 18:21:37 PDT)
Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry took an indefinite leave of absence Friday, making the move under fire for his racially charged comments about a player. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has resisted calls for Ferry to be dismissed, but said the 47-year-old GM asked for the leave. ''My hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing,'' Koonin said in a statement. ''My focus moving forward is to tirelessly work to rebuild trust with this community and with our fans,'' he said.

Ferry steps away from Hawks' operations
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 15:27:20 PDT)
Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry is taking an indefinite leave of absence over racial comments he made in a team meeting with the NBA club's top officials. Ferry, who has since apologized and said he was reading comments from one of the team's scouting reports, has come under fire over racially charged comments he made about player African-born Loul Deng during a conference call with Hawks ownership and management in June. Atlanta chief executive Steve Koonin said Friday that Ferry requested an indefinite leave of absence after making remarks. Head coach Mike Budenholzer will take over the operations of the team.

Hawks general manager takes leave of absence after making racial comments
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 14:27:20 PDT)
Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry, under fire for making racially charged remarks, has taken an indefinite leave of absence, the NBA team said on Friday. Ferry's move follows an announcement on Sunday by majority owner Bruce Levenson that he would sell his controlling interest because he had sent a racially insensitive email. Ferry's leave takes effect immediately, Hawks Chief Executive Steve Koonin said. "It is my hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing," Koonin said in a statement.

The 10-man rotation, starring really cool video games that help us forget (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:54:16 PDT)
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : YouTube . We don’t like to advertise such things here, but the trailer for a particular portion of NBA 2K15 looks pretty sweet. PF : Atlanta Journal-Constitution . Chris Vivlamore on the unending discord in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office. SF : Washington Post . Michael Lee on the unending discord in the Atlanta Hawks’ front office. Sensing something, here. SG : Sports Illustrated . Michael Rosenberg discusses why Danny Ferry, currently on a nonsense “ indefinite leave of absence ,” needs to be fired. PG : SB Nation . Seth Rosenthal points to the hypocrisy behind the “we all have skeletons in our closet”-nonsense. If you’re an adult and you don’t say stupid things, you won’t get in trouble for saying stupid things. It’s that stupidly simple. 6th : New York Times . Knicks owner James Dolan’s musical life really is like that scene in ‘Funny People’ where Adam Sandler’s character has to pay a group of musicians more money in order to hang around and jam with him. 7th : Deseret News . Andrei Kirilenko’s house in Salt Lake City was burglarized recently. Luckily, his family wasn’t home at the time, and the thieves focused on taking video games and comic books over more expensive paintings and the like. 8th : Bleacher Report : A very cool look at the terribly underrated, if quite oafish, 1994 Team USA outfit. 9th : Detroit Bad Boys . Has Stan Van Gundy already started making mistakes in Detroit? 10th : At the Hive . A very cool and thorough look at Rich Cho’s time spent manning the Charlotte franchise. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry takes indefinite leave of absence after racially charged comments (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:24:57 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry takes indefinite leave of absence after racially charged comments.

Danny Ferry takes an indefinite leave of absence with the Hawks as more documents emerge (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 13:17:39 PDT)
In the wake of ever-swirling revelations about the way Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry handled the free-agent courtship of Luol Deng in July, the Hawks’ recently-promoted CEO Steve Koonin has accepted Ferry’s request to take a leave of absence from the team he has run since 2012. Here is part of the statement made by the Hawks on Friday afternoon: “This afternoon, Danny Ferry requested, and I have approved, taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately.  This has been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family and it is my hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing.  As a human being, manager and friend, I wish him well as he undergoes this process. While the issues related to race are deeply troubling, at the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners. That said, we have taken several steps to address what we can do as an organization to be better and stronger, including working with a diversity consultant to examine us and to train us to ensure something like this never happens again, we are committed to hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, and we have and will continue to meet with community leaders in an ongoing way to ensure our values reflect the community in which we play and work.  The process of selling the team, which is to remain in Atlanta, is already underway. Effective immediately, our Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, will assume oversight of the basketball operations department.  He will report directly to me. Ferry released his own statement: "No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng. "Luol is a good man who I have known for many years and he has done a tremendous amount of good for his country and around the world. I apologize to Luol and I apologize to all that I have offended. As I have said, while these were not my words, I deeply regret repeating them. Almost all the background information I provided during the lengthy presentation regarding Luol was positive and my personal and professional recommendation during the call was very much in favor of adding Luol to our team but I never should have uttered those offensive remarks and for that I apologize. "My focus moving forward is to tirelessly work to rebuild trust with this community and with our fans. I realize that my words may ring hollow now and my future actions must speak for me. I will maximize my time during this leave to meet with community leaders and further educate myself and others on the extremely sensitive issues surrounding race, diversity, and inclusion. I will find a way to make a positive difference in this area, and further learn from the sensitivity training that I will go through.” This move comes on the heels of yet another bombshell, following revelations of the meeting that Ferry called in order to detail Deng’s supposed background to a cadre of Hawk owners , and the release of the actual audio from that meeting . A document recently obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Channel 2 appears to disclose that a former Cleveland Cavaliers executive wrote the damning “scouting” report that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry expounded upon in his discussions regarding Luol Deng’s possible signing with the franchise. The remarks were paraphrased by Ferry, they allowed one disgruntled minority owner to pounce and ask for Ferry’s resignation, and the resulting criticism could cost Ferry his job. Here’s a screen shot of the Cleveland-sourced report:

Shareef Abdur-Rahim: 'I am proud to have African in me' (Yahoo Sports)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:42:29 PDT)
Former Hawks star Shareef Abdur-Rahim wrote an open letter about the racially charged comments by Steven Levenson and Danny Ferry.

Two African-American NBA general managers come to Danny Ferry's defense (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Sep 2014 11:34:02 PDT)
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s release of Danny Ferry’s actual recorded words confirms what Adrian Wojnarowski already reported on Wednesday : Ferry was more than certainly the brains behind the needless and insulting comments about then-free agent forward Luol Deng, and the entire Atlanta Hawks franchise is in flux as a result. When I navel-gazed regarding Ferry’s future with the Hawks and the league he’s called home since returning stateside in 1990, I mentioned the absence of leadership as the most damning reason why Ferry should not continue with the team. To relay those thoughts and perceptions, be they his or the words of some witless scout, was so far off base that it still defies belief. It defies belief no matter how many times we’ve had to re-read or eventually hear the words that I won’t waste your time in relaying once again. What are worth relaying are the words of two of Ferry’s contemporaries in the general manager market. Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri and Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King have both known and have worked with Danny Ferry for years, and both spoke out on Thursday in regards to the thought process that leads to scouting reports like these, Ferry’s character as a person and professional, and his future. The Nigeria-born Ujiri, in an expertly-penned op-ed piece for The Globe and Mail , gets the first nod: R. C. Buford is the GM of the San Antonio Spurs. He was one of the first NBA executives to come to our Basketball Without Borders camps a decade ago. That same year, he adopted a young man from Cameroon. Wayne Embry is an adviser for our team. Forty years ago, he was the first African-American GM of an NBA team. Both of these men, whom I trust so much, are close to Danny. They have nothing but great things to say about him. The league is a small world. Other people I’ve spoken to who know Danny well say that he has never done anything they’ve seen to suggest he holds racist views. I spoke to Danny myself about this. He started off by apologizing to Luol. He apologized to me and apologized for any insult he’d offered to African people in general. He explained the incident as best he could to me. There are some things about that conversation I would like to keep between the two of us, but I came away feeling like I’d understood what he had to say. Here is what I have to say: I have no idea what is happening in the Atlanta Hawks organization, but I do know how the scouting world works. We all have different ways of sharing information about players and different vocabularies to do so. It crossed a line here. That said, we are all human. We are all vulnerable. We all make mistakes. You discover a person’s true character in their ability to learn from and then move on from those mistakes. One of the truly important things we must learn is how to forgive. Via Grantland’s Zach Lowe , here are King’s statements: King on Ferry: “I have known him since we were 15 years old. He is like a brother to me and he is the furthest thing from a racist.” — Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) September 12, 2014 The issue here is that nobody I know has called Danny Ferry a racist. I’m sure he’s been referred to as much in message boards I don’t frequent and comment sections I don’t peruse, but even with that highly-dubious Bonzi Wells incident from 2002 still lingering , I cannot recall any NBA voice of substance referring to Ferry in such strict terms. We do know that he’s prejudiced, because to impugn an entire continent as sneaky and backhanded by definition of its name alone shows a shocking lack of knowledge and character. We do know that he failed as a leader, because no voice of the basketball end of the Hawks franchise should be either relaying or (more likely) thinking and then expressing these thoughts as a way of describing a potential employee. I cannot recall who, but someone on Twitter recently wondered aloud as to what a scouting report in someone like Ferry’s hands would say for someone like Michael Beasley. Luol Deng is widely respected and the recipient of the NBA’s Citizenship Award, and Beasley is a career-wasting flameout that is looking to join his fourth NBA team in two calendar years right now, with little luck so far and with training camp just weeks away. The issue with that (appropriate) query is that good leaders don’t need to reduce themselves to even nastier language to describe someone like Beasley, who didn’t even bother to show some sort of care and concern for his game last season even while being gifted the opportunity to spell LeBron James and play deep into June with the Miami Heat. The same goes for Deng, even if he does have some batch of mitigating factors Atlanta Hawk owners should worry about. Mitigating factors we’re unaware of. (Though if it is true that Deng sometimes acts as an anonymous source for the press while denying as much, can you blame him? This is the guy that watched as the Chicago Bulls publicly scolded for not playing on a broken leg, before having to get an outside opinion that confirmed that, yeah, Luol Deng has a broken leg. This is a guy whose Chicago front office stood by silently while their coach – who knew exactly what was wrong with Luol Deng at the time – referred to his career-threatening botched spinal tap as “flu-like symptoms.” This is the guy that had to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, before the franchise got its head out of its tails and dumped the Chris Grant/Mike Brown regime.) Danny Ferry should have found some way to discuss Luol Deng’s merits and demerits and the sometimes beneficial overlap of the two in ways far better than the ones we read about on Wednesday , and heard on Thursday . Whether or not this misstep is a fireable offense in a vacuum is up for debate. This didn’t happen in a vacuum, though, and there are feelings to consider and a franchise’s future to think about. Donald Sterling wasn’t pushed out of the NBA because he’s a racist – the league has known about his line of thinking and discriminatory practices for decades. He was pushed out of the NBA because he was bad for business. The Hawks may have just signed Elton Brand, a solid pickup that shares a university affiliation with Ferry, but that doesn’t mean Ferry won’t be bad for their particular brand of business – be it recruiting players, fans, or potential owners – in many ways moving forward. Ujiri and King were right to talk about forgiveness, and after the initial shock and anger wore off, I think most of us have already forgiven Danny Ferry for what appear to be his own dumb thoughts and expressions. What matters now is the cold, hard world of creating a winning team and (more importantly) securing profits. In that regard, Ferry’s future is out of forgiveness’s hands. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Audio surfaces of Ferry's racist remarks
(Thu, 11 Sep 2014 20:40:45 PDT)
A US newspaper says it has the audio recording of Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry making racially charged comments about National Basketball Association player Luol Deng. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution posted online the partial recording of a June 6 conference call. Speaking to Hawks' management, Ferry says of Deng: "He's a good guy overall but he's not perfect. At that stage someone in the room -- apparently Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon -- interrupts Ferry and says: "That's going to be on TMZ tonight."

Men behaving badly: Ray Rice, Roger Goodell, Danny Ferry at forefront of rough week in sports (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 11 Sep 2014 15:42:16 PDT)
Whether it's a major sport American sports league or athletics abroad, the sporting world has taken it on the chin this week.

NBA's Silver says Ferry 'shouldn't be fired' over racist remarks
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 20:48:58 PDT)
NBA commissioner Adam Silver says he does not think Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry should be fired for making racist remarks, USA Today reported on its website. Silver told the newspaper Wednesday that Ferry's prior respectable record and the fact he was reading comments made by others on a conference call last June factor into his opinion. Ferry was reading a report on African-born British NBA standout Luol Deng as the team was analyzing potential free agents to sign. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon also said Ferry described Deng as a "two-faced liar and cheat."

Adam Silver says Danny Ferry does not deserve firing for racist comments about Luol Deng (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 19:00:13 PDT)
The ongoing controversy regarding the racial attitudes of the Atlanta Hawks front office has compelled various statements and opinions , many of which state that general manager Danny Ferry should be relieved of his duties, or at least suggest that he's not long for the job . While the franchise's primary owner Bruce Levenson has already decided to sell his interest after the revelation of his own offensive remarks made in a 2012 email, the fate of Ferry has yet to be determined following the offseason conference call in which he referred to widely admired then-free agent Luol Deng as having "a little African in him" in claiming that his reputation is not entirely deserved. Even if Ferry was merely reading off a report — which is up for debate following the latest report on the conference call from Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski — Ferry showed extreme negligence and racial insensitivity. Such behavior is highly questionable coming from a man who decides matters of employment in a league with black players constituting a majority of the on-court workforce. When Donald Sterling was found to make similarly offensive comments, NBA commissioner Adam Silver acted swiftly to remove him from his position as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. In this case, however, Silver has opted to leave the final decision on Ferry to Hawks management. Beyond that, though, he doesn't consider Ferry's words to be a terminable offense. From Sam Amick for USA Today : Silver, who just arrived in Barcelona for FIBA World Cup, explained in detail how Ferry's respectable track record and the reality that he was relaying information from a scouting report in his June conference call with owners and basketball operations staffers factor into his decision. "The discipline of a team employee is typically determined by the team, and in this case the Hawks hired a prestigious Atlanta law firm to investigate the circumstances of Danny Ferry's clearly inappropriate and unacceptable remarks," Silver said. "In my view, those comments, taken alone, do not merit his losing his job. "It's a question of context ... These words, in this context, understanding the full story here, the existence of the scouting report, the fact that he was looking at the scouting report as a reference when he was making these remarks, what I'm saying is – and frankly my opinion — is that this is a team decision in terms of what the appropriate discipline is for their employee. But if I'm being asked my view, I'm saying that, based on what I know about the circumstances, I don't think it's a terminable offense." As Amick notes, the circumstances of Ferry's case are much different than those of Sterling or even Levenson. As commissioner, Silver most directly oversees the activity of the NBA's 30 members of the Board of Governors, also known as its owners. If an owner acts in a way that puts the league's image and/or long-term health at risk, then Silver has shown that he's willing to step in and do something. With Ferry, Silver would have to pressure an owner — a figure that doesn't really exist in Atlanta right now, since Levenson is on his way out and the team's minority partners might not have the legal ability to act — to get rid of the general manager either through a forced resignation or firing. That action would require Silver to leap past one level of the league's power structure, which sets a dangerous precedent. Amick suggests that Silver has no interest in instituting a one-and-done anti-racism policy, and it could be because doing so expands the commissioner's powers to an extent that would question the league's integrity. Yet that explanation would require Silver to withhold his opinion on the matter, not effectively support Ferry by stating that this offense does not deserve a termination of his employment. Silver's remarks are by no means a full-throated defense of Ferry, but they assume a great deal, including the still-vague source of the anti-Deng comments and Ferry's ability to pass off responsibility despite the fact that he could easily have called out the report's racism and set a different tone for his staff. In general, Silver has opted to see things from the perspective of those already in power at a time when it has become necessary to question the attitudes and habits of the league as a whole . That's not to say that Silver is acting in a racist manner, or that he has reached the very low level of Roger Goodell when it comes to American sports commissioner activity for the week of September 8, 2014. But it does suggest a tone-deaf response when the NBA needs to convince its employees, players, and fans that it deserves its reputation as the most forward-thinking league in North America on social issues. If Silver had simply left the decision to the Hawks and neglected to make further comment, he would have at least isolated the issue within the organization. The specific incidents of this case continue to relate only to the Hawks, but it's clear that the greater problem, overt or not, extends well beyond one organization. The problematic power structures are widespread and entrenched. Unfortunately, it's an issue that can't be solved in one fell swoop. In a roundabout way, Silver is correct — firing Ferry won't fix a thing. The situation requires a much deeper cultural reckoning. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

Hawks cancel meeting with civil rights leaders (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 10 Sep 2014 13:32:37 PDT)
The Atlanta Hawks cancelled a scheduled meeting between their CEO and city civil rights leaders Wednesday, prompting one of the group's leaders to say his community was greatly offended. The Rev. Markel Hutchins said the meeting with CEO Steve Koonin was called off ''at the last minute.'' He later said he received a call from Hawks spokesman Garin Narain on Tuesday night asking the appointment be postponed. Hutchins said he needed to hear that request from Koonin, and because Koonin didn't personally cancel the meeting, the group of 12 civil rights leaders showed up as planned. When they entered Philips Arena and were told there would be no meeting, Hutchins and the other leaders said they were insulted.

NBA star Deng 'saddened' by Ferry's racist remarks
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:18:34 PDT)
African-born British NBA star Luol Deng said he was saddened and disappointed in remarks made about him in June by Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry. "'He has a little African in him.' These words were recently used to describe me," Deng said.

Hawks discipline general manager for racial comments about Deng
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 19:03:41 PDT)
The NBA's Atlanta Hawks said on Tuesday they would discipline general manager Danny Ferry for making racially charged remarks, the latest incident that has raised concerns about racial attitudes in the franchise's front office. The team did not reveal what steps it was taking, but Ferry, a former NBA player who has been the Hawks' general manager since 2012, said he had no plans to resign. The incident was the second of its kind involving the Hawks this week. When the team launched the probe into Ferry's remarks, it also uncovered an email written by majority owner Bruce Levenson that discussed the lack of white fans at the team's home arena, Philips Arena.

Johnson calls for Ferry to go in latest racism storm
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 18:01:05 PDT)
Magic Johnson, the retired NBA star dragged into the Los Angeles Clippers racism controversy, called Tuesday for the firing of Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry over unrelated racist remarks. A photo of Johnson with the former girlfriend of then-Clippers owner Donald Sterling led to racist comments from Sterling that later saw him banished from the NBA for life and the Clippers sold. Racist remarks by Ferry in June regarding African-born British NBA star Luol Deng were made public Monday.

Luol Deng responds to Danny Ferry's 'a little African in him' comments (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 16:50:08 PDT)
On Monday, Miami Heat forward Luol Deng was promptly thrown into the middle of a scandal in which he had no direct role. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry had made racist comments (or relayed them without much consternation) regarding Deng's African birth and upbringing , although "not in a bad way." When it turned out that those remarks were even worse than initially thought , Deng received more unrequested attention. The controversy still relates primarily to the racial attitudes of the Hawks, Ferry, and soon-to-be-ex-owner Bruce Levenson , as well as their general manager's employment status . Nevertheless, Deng has issued a statement in response to Ferry's remarks and their aftermath: The full statement from Luol Deng: — Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) September 9, 2014 It's a sincere, thoughtful statement from a man who has earned the respect of many people around the league: from media (our Kelly Dwyer is a particularly big fan) to teammates to employers to fans. Deng isn't without faults, because no one is, but he's generally thought to be one of the best people in the NBA. He earned the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for the 2013-14 season. The statement is entirely in keeping with what we know of Deng and his approach to the world. At the same time, referencing Deng's credentials and reputation is mostly unnecessary in this situation, because Ferry's comments failed to meet a level of respect that should be afforded to any person. It's not as if Deng shouldn't have felt the need to respond — it's natural for anyone to defend himself after being criticized in this manner — but it's not as if we should be especially upset at such racism simply because it was directed at a likable guy. No one deserves this kind of treatment. The turmoil surrounding the Hawks right now relates to the NBA, Deng, racial attitudes in pro sports, and many other adjacent issues. At its core, though, it's a pretty simple story about prejudice. Focusing on Deng's individual merit is an evasion of the issue at hand. The point is that people shouldn't have to be as great as Luol Deng to be seen as worthy of common decency. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

Hawks discipline GM Ferry for racist comments (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 15:44:03 PDT)
ATLANTA (AP) -- The Atlanta Hawks are sticking with general manager Danny Ferry even though the team's new majority owner wants him fired for racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Apologetic Ferry disciplined by Hawks for remarks
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:49:56 PDT)
Atlanta Hawks president Danny Ferry apologized Tuesday for racial remarks regarding the African heritage of Britain's Luol Deng, comments that led to him being disciplined. Hawks chief executive Steve Koonin imposed the private punishment on Ferry for comments made in a June conference call as the team was considering possible free agents, including Deng. According to a June letter by Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon obtained by Atlanta television station WSB, Ferry also described Deng as a "two-faced liar and cheat." The comments became public Monday because they led to an investigation that uncovered a 2012 e-mail with racist remarks by Hawks owner Barry Levenson, one that has prompted him to sell the team.

After realizing NBA dream, Serge Ibaka working to help reshape Africa (Yahoo Sports)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 14:38:37 PDT)
Serge Ibaka wants to show African children they, too, can accomplish their dreams.

The 10-man rotation, starring the Atlanta Hawks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 11:45:00 PDT)
A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out. C : TIME : Kareem Abdul-Jabbar defends Bruce Levenson’s business practices, if not his execution in trying to implement said practices. PF : COMPLEX . On the Nike Air Huarache, my 12th birthday gift and one of the most celebrated sneakers of all time. SF : Ball in Europe . Emmet Ryan’s affecting and expertly written take on covering the FIBA World Cup while dealing with internal issues. You should really read this. SG : Queen City Hoops . The city of Charlotte just tossed a whole heck of a lot of money at the Hornets’ arena. PG : Grantland . Zach Lowe intelligently takes on the prospects of the Atlanta Hawks. 6th : SB Nation . Tom Ziller on Danny Ferry’s uneasy future in Atlanta. 7th : Hardwood Paroxysm : Evans Clinchy discusses what remains a complicated situation, as we detail the work of NBA owners. 8th : Sports Illustrated . Michael McCann points out that the Bruce Levenson situation could affect the NBA’s ongoing dealings with former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. 9th : Pro Basketball Talk . Danilo Gallinari is not satisfied with the medical treatment of his torn ACL. 10th : PROGRAMMING NOTE: Game 2 of the WNBA Finals is on ESPN tonight at 9 Eastern. It will feature two very good basketball teams playing entertaining basketball. Tune in. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Danny Ferry probably isn't long for his job with the Atlanta Hawks (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 09 Sep 2014 08:10:33 PDT)
I’ve got a lot of Mick in me. I’m prone to bouts of depression, and I have a hair-trigger temper that tends to lash out in the face of those who don’t tip well or use turn signals. Sometimes I overindulge. I can write, but I can’t tan. If you’re looking for a ruddy-faced stereotype, I’m your Mick. Of course, if you call me that, or mention to others that “Dwyer has a lot of Mick in him,” your nose is about to meet my forehead. I’m the only one who is allowed to say it. Just me. This is where Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry screwed up. And this is why he probably won’t be the Hawks GM once the 2014-15 season rolls around. And this is why such a removal might be in the best interests for all involved. According to reports , in a phone conference detailing the Hawks’ interest in free agent swingman Luol Deng, Ferry was heard relaying a quote that stated that Deng “has a little African in him, not in a bad way, but he's a guy who would have a nice store out front, but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back." Not in a bad way, just in an illegal way. You know, typical African stuff. What this description even means is anyone’s guess. Whoever actually penned this particular version of the scouting report is up for anyone’s guess. It could have come from a Hawks scout, a member of the same Chicago Bulls franchise that completely sold out Deng after a botched spinal tap procedure , or a Cleveland Cavaliers staffer still employed after last season’s front office overhaul. The source is sickening enough, but it’s the oversight that matters most. Danny Ferry is where the buck should have stopped, and he failed in his authoritative role. Ferry comes from sound pedigree. His father Bob was a longtime NBA executive with the former Washington Bullets, he is a Duke graduate, and he worked his way into his own executive career after working under Gregg Popovich and R.C. Buford in San Antonio. His first turn as a full-on GM in Cleveland was a misspent five years, but he has created an entertaining team in Atlanta, one that should grow into a second-round mainstay as the years move along. Danny Ferry won’t be around for such growth, or at the very least he shouldn’t be, because of this astonishing lack of principle when it came to discussing Luol Deng’s merits in the presence of his bosses – one of whom, minority owner Michael Gearon, has already called for his firing. The fact that Ferry is not a back-slappin’ good ole boy hardly matters here. What counts is the mentality that tells an NBA executive that it’s passable to discuss a player and more importantly a person in these terms and think that it’s just fine. As we discussed on Monday , Luol Deng is an absolute saint. The Sudanese-born forward is also a Duke product, he is as selfless as players come, and he remains a dutiful teammate and leader. His African heritage should be a point of pride, as should be the source of all of our respective lineages. To refer to it as some sort of positive slur – some mishandled, “no, that’s a good thing!” – is beyond insulting. Especially when, as any good basketball scout will tell you, Luol Deng hardly fits the mantle of some back-alley, counterfeit cheat. To refer to any basketball player along these terms even if they do toss the occasional elbow or dirty screen, whether they come from Spokane or southwest Dallas, is wrong. That scout was wrong, and Ferry was completely out of his gourd for relaying the scout’s thoughts. His front office and ownership group gathered in anticipation of paying Luol Deng eight figures a year to work for their basketball club, a perfect salve for both ends of the ball for that growing Hawk squad, and Ferry decided to utilize this line as an attribute ? It’s an astonishing misstep from somebody that should know better. The Ferry family should always have a place in the NBA, Danny has earned as much, but that doesn’t mean the Hawks owe him one after this. This is an unacceptable brand of leadership. - - - - - - - Kelly Dwyer is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @KDonhoops

Hawks minority owner wrote letter, pressured Bruce Levenson to get rid of Danny Ferry after comments on Luol Deng (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 08 Sep 2014 22:50:49 PDT)
The racial attitudes of the Atlanta Hawks front office look worse with every passing day. On Monday night, a report from WSB-TV in Atlanta elaborated on racist comments attributed to general manager Danny Ferry and cast outgoing owner Bruce Levenson's decision to sell his controlling interest in the franchise in a new light. The news doesn't just pile on to the mess in Atlanta — it raises questions as to whether Ferry will eventually be forced to leave the team, too. On Sunday, Levenson announced that he would sell his interest in the Hawks due to the revelation of an email in which he claimed a desire to reach out to affluent white fans and avoid various associations with the team's black fans. On Monday, Yahoo's own Adrian Wojnarowski reported that this email had only received attention after one of the Hawks' other owners launched an investigation into the franchise's racial culture following racist comments made by Danny Ferry during a conference call regarding free agent forward Luol Deng,  who signed with the Miami Heat in July. Ferry was quoted as saying that Deng had "some African in him" in reference to his being "not perfect," although he also said the comment was not meant "in a bad way," which seems impossible given the content. The WSB-TV report throws the actions of both Ferry and Levenson into a harsher light. In a letter obtained by the station , minority owner Michael Gearon, Jr. calls on Levenson to discipline Ferry. Here are a few key passages: During the call, which we recorded so that notes could be made for our partners unable to participate live, our GM Danny Ferry discussed player personnel issues at some length. With respect to one potential free agent, a highly-regarded African-American player and humanitarian, Ferry talked about the player’s good points, and then on to describe his negatives, stating that “he has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out the back.” [...] We were appalled that anyone would make such a racist slur under any circumstance, much less the GM of an NBA franchise on a major conference call. One of us can be heard on the tape reacting with astonishment. Our franchise has a long history of racial diversity and inclusion that reflect the makeup of our great city. Ferry's comments were so far out of bounds that we are concerned that he has put the entire franchise in jeopardy. As a minority partner with no effective say in decision-making, we were somewhat at a loss what to do next. So we consulted this week with two attorneys, one a very well-known and highly respected former African-American judge in Atlanta, and the other a highly regarded employment discrimination lawyer. They confirmed our fears and then some. The former judge put it pretty succintly, saying that any African-American who heard the comments would interpret them as meaning "all blacks are two-faced liars and cheats." The employment attorney opined that we as a team face significant exposure, possibly in the courts, but certainly in the court of public opinion, and, as we all know, within the league. She described the possible fallout as "devastating." We agree. [...] If Ferry's comments are ever made public, and it's a safe bet to say they will someday, it could be fatal to the franchise. All of our partners have worked and spent a lot of money not just to make the Hawks winners, but to make our city and region proud of the organization. As lifelong Atlantans with a public track record of diversity and inclusion, we are especially fearful of the unfair consequences when we eventually get thrown under the bus with Ferry. We are calling on you, as majority owner and NBA Governor, to take swift and severe action against Ferry. Our advisors tell us there is no other choice but to ask for Ferry's resignation, and if he refuses, to terminate him for cause under his employment agreement. Gearon's letter also includes reference to the then-ongoing Donald Sterling controversy, viewing Ferry's comments as even worse because they occurred in a formal business environment rather than in informal conversation in a home. The fears expressed in this letter are related to the Sterling case, as well, because Gearon (formerly the Hawks' primary owner) envisions a potential future in which he, Levenson, and the rest of the ownership group loses the franchise due to NBA intervention. He even predicts the eventual release of Ferry's comment on Deng, which has of course now occurred. There has been some question as to whether assessed Ferry assessed Deng in this way himself or simply read them from a report prepared by another employee, but the difference is negligible in terms of how it reflects on Ferry and the organization. As general manager, Ferry should be expected to create a work environment in which these racist opinions are not allowed. At the very least, he should be able to identify that they should not be shared with the team's owners or should be followed immediately (i.e. during the meeting) with an apology. Not doing so is itself an act of prime racial insensivity, regardless of the comments' origins. Meanwhile, Levenson's decision to sell his interest in the team now looks motivated not only by his own comments, but also his inability to act on Ferry at a time when his colleagues had expressed dissatisfaction and warned of potential lawsuits that would put their control of the franchise in jeopardy. As noted by Wojnarowski in his prior report, Hawks CEO Seth Mookin told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Ferry had been disciplined for his action but would remain in his position as general manager. If Levenson has now been successfully pressured to sell the team due to for comments that can at least be interpreted as following some sort of business logic (which, under further examination, is also racist ), then why wouldn't Ferry receive equivalent punishment? The inability to act stands as a failure to take the problem seriously in a way that suggests a lack of proper leadership. Levenson's 2012 email has turned from an isolated incident into a sign of deeper issues. It remains to be seen how this latest revelation of information will affect Ferry's future with the team or the story as a whole, but it's clear that the entire NBA, including its fans, must take stock of its racial attitudes and habits. Luol Deng is a widely admired player and man who earned the league's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award this past season , but these comments would be unacceptable even if he were a notorious malcontent. In this meeting, Ferry failed to meet basic standards of human decency. Why wouldn't Gearon be this dissatisfied and concerned? - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

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