When the news broke of Hawks GM Danny Ferry making racially insensitive remarks about Luol Deng on a conference call with ownership, the quotes were bad enough that his job should have been on the line, despite what commissioner Adam Silver believes is appropriate in this situation.
“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….. For example, he can come out and be an unnamed source for a story and two days later come out and say, ‘That absolutely was not me. I can’t believe someone said that.’ But talking to reporters, you know they can [believe it].”
Having a quote in print is one thing, but hearing someone actually say it gives new context to it entirely. And thanks to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, we now have audio of Ferry delivering those remarks.
Ferry never said he was reading from a scouting report, and in fact, his official statement said he was “repeating” comments he heard instead, which honestly seems much worse.
“In regards to the insensitive remarks that were used during our due diligence process, I was repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources during background conversations and scouting about different players,” Ferry said, via the team’s official release. “I repeated those comments during a telephone conversation reviewing the draft and free agency process. 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.
Hearing the remarks like this doesn’t change their meaning. But it does reveal a casual attitude to delivering them, which makes Ferry’s attempt to downplay what he said even less plausible.