Danny Ferry looked like he was going to escape the Atlanta Hawks scandal without losing his job, but now that might not be the case.
On Sunday, word came through that Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson would be selling his stake in the team after a 2012 internal email he sent was shared with the league. In the email, Levenson talked in open terms about the demographics of the Hawks’ fan base and how to make the product appeal to more white fans.
We learned early on Monday that the investigation into the team came as a result of some comments Ferry made about Luol Deng while discussing free agents with some of the team’s owners. It was originally reported that Ferry said Deng had “some African in him.”
Now WSBTV in Atlanta provides more details about Ferry’s analysis of Deng. This comes via an email Hawks minority owner J. Michael Gearon, Jr. sent in a June 12 email to Levenson.
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.” Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly, all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat.
You can read the full text of the email at this PDF link.
In the email, Gearon called for Ferry to lose his job. Ferry was only subjected to an undisclosed punishment by the team and nothing from the league. The team defended him by saying he was only repeating what was written about Deng in a scouting report and not sharing a personal, racist opinion.
If there is enough backlash in response to this letter getting released, Ferry might be pushed out.
It sure seems to me that a minority owner or two really wants control of the team and has decided to go about it in this way. I don’t think their motivations were innocent.