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September 9, 2014 Updates

Ironically, according to the source, Ferry was a strong advocate of signing Deng, who would up signing a two-year deal with the Heat. “He wanted to pay him $40 million,” the source said. Lawyers conducting the investigation looked at more than 24,000 pieces of internal communications over the last few years. None of Ferry’s e-mails or other communications raised any red flags, according to the source. NBA.com

Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has no immediate plans to resign following racist comments he claims to have read during a conference call regarding potential free agent Luol Deng in June. Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. wrote a letter to majority owner Bruce Levenson calling for him to ask for Ferry’s resignation or fire him for cause if he refused several days after the conference call with ownership and management. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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. Yahoo! Sports

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. [...] Yahoo! Sports

Hawks officials agreed Monday to meet with civil rights leaders after a team owner disclosed that he wrote a racially charged email theorizing that black fans kept white fans away. The Rev. Markel Hutchins said he and others wanted a chance to discuss what they think is a racist attitude permeating the entire organization. ''Evidently the culture of racism and bigotry that is pervasive and ever-present in the Atlanta Hawks leadership is embarrassing to the city of Atlanta and undermines the very best of Atlanta's history of race relations and being a leader for the nation and the world,'' Hutchins said during a news conference outside Philips Arena, where the team plays. NBA.com

September 8, 2014 Updates

Jeff Zillgitt: NBPA acting director Ron Klempner: "We've had continuing discussions with the league office about the incidents of disturbing statements attributed to representatives of the Atlanta Hawks’ franchise. We recognize that there is an ongoing investigation regarding the circumstances and we will continue to monitor these events and take any action we deem appropriate." Twitter @JeffZillgitt

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN HAWKS HISTORY

While arguably the most popular, Dominique Wilkins is not the best player in franchise history.

   

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