Miami Heat forward Luol Deng was the subject of a racist remark form a report read by Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry during an owners meeting in June, per multiple reports.
Miami Heat forward Luol Deng was the subject of a racist remark form a report read by Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry in June.
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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Chris Vivlamore wrote more about the development on Sept. 8:
"Luol Deng was the free-agent player being discussed in a Hawks' owners call in June when a racist comment was read from a background report by general manager Danny Ferry, according to a person familiar with the situation.
"According to a second person familiar with the meeting, the following is what Ferry read: 'He is still a young guy overall. 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.'
"Deng is a native of the current South Sudan. He is involved in several charities in Africa and has made trips overseas as part of the NBA program Basketball Without Borders. In April he was named the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award given annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.
"Following the owners meeting a member of the Atlanta-based ownership raised a concern over the comment. That prompted an internal investigation conducted by (the) council. The law firm of Alston and Bird spoke to 19 people and reviewed over 24,000 documents, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Sunday.During the investigation, an email written by majority owner Bruce Levenson, directed to Ferry and fellow Washington, D.C. based co-owners Ed Peskowitz and Todd Foreman, that contained inflammatory remarks was discovered.
"After reporting the email to the NBA, Levenson announced Sunday that he would sell his share in the team because of the 'inappropriate and offensive' internal email sent in 2012 regarding, in part, the lack of white fans at Philips Arena.
"The Hawks pursued Deng in free agency. He ended up signing a two-year, $20 million contract with the Heat in July.
"One person with knowledge of the situation said that they had 'never heard a comment as offensive' in referring to the background report on Deng.
"Ferry faces unannounced discipline from the Hawks for reading the comment, according to Koonin. It is not believed that Ferry will lose his general manager position as part of the discipline. Ferry will not face additional discipline from the NBA."
ESPN's Brian Windhorst also reported on the Deng controversy in Atlanta:
"An internal and unexpected chain of events stemming from a June conference call looking ahead to free agency led to Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson putting controlling interest in the team up for sale Sunday, multiple officials told ESPN.com.
"A racially insensitive email written by Levenson more than two years ago came to light only after one of his co-owners called for an investigation because of something that was included in a background report on free-agent target Luol Deng that was read aloud by team general manager Danny Ferry, who did not fully edit the remark as he read it off the report, according to multiple sources.
"Hawks CEO Steve Koonin, who has assumed day-to-day control of the team while sale proceedings begin, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Sunday that Ferry wil also be disciplined for his role in the situation. The nature of the discipline was not disclosed by the team.
"Sources say that, as of Monday, Ferry was in line to remain Hawks general manager.
"Koonin told the Journal-Constitution that the Hawks held a meeting in early June to discuss potential free-agent targets. According to Koonin, Ferry cited a background report that included an 'offensive and racist' remark about a player.
"'Instead of editing it, he said the comment,' Koonin said.
"The Hawks held a players-only meeting Sunday to discuss the situation, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard.
"The meeting, which was held at Philips Arena, occurred after the Hawks players were addressed by Koonin, Ferry, coach Mike Budenholzer and assistant GM Wes Wilcox. The officials apologized to the players and then left the locker room to allow the players to talk among themselves.
"More than 10 players attended the meeting, including some of the club's non-African American players. One person familiar with the meeting said the players were extremely upset with the club's management and ownership.
"Earlier Monday, ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne first reported that the player referred to was the Sudan-born Deng, who is among the most respected veterans in the league and was named in April as the winner of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association for his off-court charity work."
The 29-year-old Deng has averaged 16.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 677 regular-season games for the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers, per ESPN stats.
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