HoopsHype Luol Deng rumors

September 12, 2014 Updates

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

September 11, 2014 Updates

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver does not believe that Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry should be fired for his racially charged remarks about former free agent Luol Deng, he told USA TODAY Sports Wednesday. 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. USA Today Sports

September 10, 2014 Updates

The call proceeded with Ferry hustling through free agent names, a list that included Carmelo Anthony: "He can shoot the [expletive] out of it, but he screws you up in other ways," Ferry said, according to a transcript obtained by Yahoo Sports. Ferry would go on to say of Anthony: "So is he really worth the 20 million dollars? … I would argue if he plays the right way, absolutely." The Hawks never had a chance to get Anthony, but free agent Luol Deng had been a distinct possibility. Eventually, the Hawks made two offers to Deng – two years, $20 million, or one year, $10 million – league sources told Yahoo Sports. Around the discussions between the Hawks and Deng, several sources told Yahoo that within the basketball operations, Ferry was Atlanta's biggest proponent to sign Deng. Yahoo! Sports

Ferry never did persuade Deng to take the offer, and yet still he'll forever be connected to him. Once he started talking on the call about Deng, it wasn't long before Ferry marched himself directly into a foolish, ignorant riff of African stereotypes. On and on, Ferry started about how Deng "has got some African in him" and proceeded to make a comparison to Africans with phony facades selling counterfeit goods. As soon as those words left Ferry's mouth on the call, Gearon responded in a dramatic way in the background of the tape recording, according to a partial transcript of the call obtained by Yahoo Sports. "Oh my God, that comment sounds like Sterling on TMZ," Gearon said. Yahoo! Sports

September 9, 2014 Updates

Luol Deng: "I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just "a little". For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength. Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can think of no greater privilege than to do what I love for a living while also representing my heritage on the highest stage. Unfortunately, the comment about my heritage was not made with the same respect and appreciation. Chicago Tribune

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

September 8, 2014 Updates

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