HoopsHype Danny Ferry rumors

September 12, 2014 Updates

Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "As an Atlanta native, former Atlanta Hawk and African-American, remaining voiceless on the recent statements distributed by Atlanta Hawks management discounts the sacrifices so many have made to provide a voice for injustice. As a child growing up in Atlanta and before hip-hop music was played at the arena or even accepted by the masses in America, the Hawks had an attendance problem. I recall countless games blacked out in the 1980s and early 90s due to low attendance in the arena. Neither African-American cheerleaders nor the African-American community were the cause of low attendance back then and they are not the cause now." Yahoo! Sports

Shareef Abdur-Rahim: "I personally interacted with both Bruce Levenson and Danny Ferry on multiple occasions; my experiences with both have always been pleasant. However, their comments represent a lack of respect and sensitivity for individuals with different experiences and backgrounds than themselves. I pray both individuals learn from this situation and work to regain the trust of the great people of Atlanta." Yahoo! Sports

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Channel 2 have jointly obtained the background report on Luol Deng read by general manager Danny Ferry that has become the center of controversy. Part of the five-page report, with portions redacted, contains separate sections of different personnel. The one in question reads: “He is a good guy on the cover but he is an African. He has a little two-step in him = says what you want to hear but behind closed doors he could be killing you. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Hawks controlling owner Bruce Levenson sent emails to supporters who have reached out to him during the recent controversy that has led him to sell his share of the team. Levenson made his announcement Sunday after an inflammatory email he sent to general manager Danny Ferry was discovered in an internal investigation. In an email obtained by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Levenson writes: Friends, I am sending this email to the 2,478 people who sent me kind emails in the past week. I also got hundreds of texts, written notes and phone calls. I tried to respond to each of you but may have missed a couple. Please know your kind words and stories were powerful ointment for me and my family. While my kids and Karen have held my hand, you have held my heart. Many of you are friends, and many others are co-workers, business associates, basketball players, coaches, team owners, clergy, and complete strangers. Men signed notes “love” and many of you have kept checking back. Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Masai Ujiri: 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. Toronto Globe & Mail

Gearon had grown frustrated with Ferry because of the smug manner in which he dealt with some Hawks employees, according to a person with knowledge of the situation, and has long wanted him gone. But Gearon, who was once NBA governor for the franchise, lacked the power to remove Ferry and neither Levenson nor Steve Koonin, the new chief executive and minority owner assigned to run the team until the sale is completed, are willing to grant his wish. That tussle has been at the heart of the current tension within the organization. Washington Post

That is not to say that the new owner of the Hawks, whoever it turns out to be, should necessarily keep Ferry as general manager. New owners want their own people in place, and it's beyond unlikely that the new boss in the 404/770 is going to want to deal with the baggage of retaining Ferry in the wake of the horrible, racially insulting remarks he made about Luol Deng during a staff meeting last month. NBA.com

But all of us have said and done things at one time or another in our lives that, without context, could be fatal to not just our employment, but our reputation. Think of every e-mail and text you've sent, or every phone call you've made, in the last five years. Anything in those messages that, if posted on Twitter, would make you look like ... a racist? A sexist? A tax cheat? A homophobe? Do any of us want to be judged on the dumbest, least informed thing we've said about someone else? I've known Danny Ferry since we were teenagers -- me a senior, he a freshman -- at DeMatha High School in suburban D.C. in the early 1980s. We have always had a friendly relationship, through his days as a player and as a rising executive after he retired, though I would not call us friends. (He expressed mock outrage a few years ago when I opined to someone that he was one of the "top seven or eight" players -- but not higher -- who ever played at DeMatha. He then would refer to me as "one of the top dozen or so reporters" who came out of that school.) NBA.com

That means that Atlanta's black and Latino populace is among the most employed, and among the best paid, of any African-American populace in the country. If the issue is income, why wasn't Levenson worried about getting those people into Philips Arena as well as more affluent whites? Perhaps the next owner will seek out the support of the entire Atlanta community. The shame of the dysfunction in Atlanta's front office is that the Hawks were improving on the floor, taking Indiana to seven games in the first round even without All-Star Al Horford, on the shelf for the season with a torn pectoral muscle. But while Ferry had built a solid team with solid, low-priced free agents, Atlanta had failed miserably in its pursuit of superstars like LeBron James, Chris Paul or Dwight Howard. The Hawks were always on the outside looking in. NBA.com

Rev. Markel Hutchins: The NBA is going to do and say what is in the best interests of the NBA. Those of us who are practitioners of social justice and social responsibility take the position that Danny Ferry has got to go, and it is in the best interests of not only the Atlanta Hawks, but the Atlanta community and all the rich history that we represent in this community. He’s got to go. HawksHoop.com

Rev. Markel Hutchins: I have hypothesized, and I have no concrete proof, but there’s a strong inclination deep within me that suggests the reason that the meeting with civil rights leaders and the Atlanta Hawks was called off yesterday has everything to do with the league having put the kibosh on the meeting. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Hawks leadership on Tuesday after I spoke Monday night with Steve Koonin, the CEO of the Hawks. On Tuesday night, I get a call trying to suggest that they want to cancel the meeting with us. I don’t think there’s any coincidence. The NBA is apparently trying to cover this culture, and we have to expose it in order for justice to really prevail for the players. HawksHoop.com

Now Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, is saying that he doesn’t believe that Danny Ferry should be let go. I read in ESPN.com today that your group or civil rights leaders that you brought to Phillips Arena yesterday, that you don’t agree with that position. RMH: Well, Adam Silver probably is concerned about what is good and best for the NBA. We are concerned about what is good and best for humanity overall, a part of which the NBA is. But there’s a larger issue here. We cannot afford, particularly in the cradle of the American Civil Rights Movement and the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., we cannot afford to send a message to this nation, and particularly to basketball players in the NBA – to everyone really – that it is acceptable to use that kind of language and still be embraced by the birthplace of the American Civil Rights Movement. So while Commissioner Silver may be looking at what is in the best interests of the NBA, we’re looking at what is in the best interests humanity and the nation as a whole. HawksHoop.com

Rev. Markel Hutchins: Atlanta has a rich tradition and legacy for setting an example to the nation and the world about how African Americans and white Americans and others can work together to resolve conflict and confusion around race and racial incidents. So we think in some real sense this issue of what is happening, not only with the Levenson email, but more importantly with Danny Ferry’s commentary, we think it is something that is very important and critical to the whole of this community. And we obviously have some concerns, not just about those incidents but what I believe is a culture in the Atlanta Hawks, and in the NBA overall, a culture that is less diverse than America is, that is less inclusive than America is, and that is less understanding and embracing of the diversity that makes America great. HawksHoop.com

September 11, 2014 Updates

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution released an audio recording Thursday evening of the conference call, which has called into question whether Ferry was reading or speaking on his own accord. But a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that an NBA investigator previously had seen the report and also heard the recording. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the investigation. And Silver has acknowledged the existence of the scouting report and referenced its role in the matter as part of his reasoning for not believing that Ferry should be fired. USA Today Sports

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