Danny Ferry is not long for the Atlanta Hawks.
He should be let go for what he said on a conference call about Luol Deng — one of the highest character guys around the NBA and he was verbally thrashed with ugly, bigoted language. To quote what Ferry said according to another owner on that call: “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 of the back.”
I don’t really buy Ferry’s “I was just reading the scouting report” excuse but it doesn’t really matter — part of his job is to read those reports, take information from them and at times pass that information along in a more digestible way. Ferry didn’t, he just spouted the bigoted statements. That speaks to a culture of racism in his organization that this was allowed to happen. What he did was worse that what owner Bruce Levenson said in his email and Levenson is selling his share of the team (at a massive profit).
Ferry, however, says he is not resigning. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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.
According to David Aldridge of NBA.com, the Hawks have no further plans to discipline Ferry (aside whatever was already done internally).
The Atlanta Hawks have no current plans to further discipline general manager Danny Ferry past the internal punishment issued by team CEO Steve Koonin, according to a source involved in the process…
The source indicated that the Hawks’ punishment of Ferry was more than what was recommended by the investigative body that looked into the team’s business practices. The team has not disclosed its punishment of Ferry, who was hired two years ago by the Hawks.
In his released statement Ferry said this:
“Those words do not reflect my views, or words that I would use to describe an individual and I certainly regret it. I apologize to those I offended and to Luol, who I reached out to Monday morning.”
Too little, too late.
If Ferry isn’t stepping down he should be fired. And that will happen by the time a new majority owner is found to replace Levenson — you think a new owner coming in wants to have this mess still on his plate? That owner needs to change both the culture and the perception of the culture of this franchise in Atlanta (then get the fans in the building again, they were 28th in attendance last year). Ferry cannot be a part of that. Not anymore.
Besides some of the owners want Ferry out. That’s what part-owner Michael Gearon, Jr. wanted, which is why he brought the full quote forward. The Atlanta Spirit ownership group is legendarily dysfunctional but you’d have to think the largest shareholder still on the team masthead (Levenson has come down) could get the GM fired.
Ferry has to go. It’s that simple. If he’s not going to resign, then someone should make the decision for him.