Adam Silver praises Danny Ferry for ‘wisely’ taking leave of absence from Hawks

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Danny Ferry is good.

That is the narrative that has overrun any discussion of the Hawks general manager.

Steve Kerr called Ferry “a man of character.” Billy King said Ferry “is the furthest thing from a racist.” Masai Ujiri checked around the league and reported back how many good things people had to say about Ferry.

Most crucially, Adam Silver said Ferry shouldn’t be fired.

The NBA commissioner has led the chorus supporting Ferry, trusting that Ferry was just reading off a scouting report during that fateful conference call. Silver established a lot of credibility on his handling of race during the Donald Sterling scandal and is using up all his goodwill to defend someone who said: “He’s a good guy overall, but he’s got some African in him, and I don’t say that in a bad way other than he’s a guy that may be making side deals behind you, if that makes sense. He has a storefront out front that’s beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you.”

Ferry apologized and took an indefinite leave of absence, probably ending his Atlanta tenure. But if you think Silver is going to step out of the Hawks’ internal business now, think again.

Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal:

Oh, wise Danny Ferry. What a gracious and humble leader of men. How would the Hawks have proceed without your bold decision to sacrifice yourself?

Yeah, they probably would have fired you – and likely will anyway.

Why is Silver so quick to praise this guy?

Maybe Ferry just made an error in judgment, lazily reading off a scouting report when he should have used his own words. That would raise serious questions about Ferry’s ability to oversee basketball operations, though it would spare him from the charges of racism.

However, that set of facts is not a given, and several serious questions remain. Why did Ferry not censor the African comment? Has Atlanta’s front office become less diverse under his watch? Did that contribute to Ferry’s comfort in saying the African comment? When did Ferry realize the remark was offensive? What happened with Bonzi Wells?

I’m not ready to call for Ferry’s firing, but I’m sure not following Silver’s lead in going out of my way to stick up for the man.