One NBA employee said of Luol Deng, “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.”
For that, Danny Ferry lost his job as Hawks general manager.
Another NBA employee reportedly said of Deng, “He is a good guy on the cover but he’s an African. He has a little two-step in him = says what you like to hear, but behind closed doors he could be killing you. Con isn’t bad, but it’[end of page] there. African-like, store front looks great but there’s a black market section in the back. Chicago thought he was good for their culture, but an outlier. Teammates liked him, but he [end of page] less impact on the locker room than you would think. He complained about things like not enough team jerseys in the team store, or that his bobble head was last during the year [end of page] has some con and a sense of entitlement. Luol kind of treated Cleveland like a pit-stop after the trade, where he probably became more protective of his body and focused on the [end of page] contract because he didn’t know his long term plan. He some things privately to media but denied them publically and said it wasn’t him. He’s not terrible, but you’ve got to k[end of page] that stuff is there with him.”
For that, nobody received any known punishment.
One possible explanation: The unknown employee – listed as a former member of the Cavaliers when the account was given in June 2014 – no longer worked in the league when the scouting report leaked.
Did that just change?
The San Antonio Spurs have hired former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Chris Grant for a role as a team scout, league sources informed ESPN.
It is not confirmed Grant provided the original disparaging use of “African” to describe Deng. But so much circumstantial evidence – the timeline of Grant’s employment in Cleveland, the knowledge of Deng’s salary request – matches Grant, many assume it was him.
That’s not fair to Grant.
It’s also unfair if a current NBA employee goes unpunished for a racist argument against paying a player.