Luol Deng scouting report sparked Hawks investigation
A racist remark about then-free agent Luol Deng led to an investigation of the Atlanta Hawks which resulted in the determination that owner Bruce Levenson would be selling his stake in the team, a report says.
According to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Hawks GM Danny Ferry made a comment about Deng’s cultural background during a conference call with the team’s owners to discuss potential free agent signings.
“He’s still a young guy overall,” Ferry said on the call, according to Woj. “He’s a good guy overall. But he’s not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way.”
Apparently that comment from Ferry was said on a call with seven of the team’s owners. One of the owners was concerned enough by that comment that he hired a firm to conduct an independent investigation into the organization. That’s how the now-infamous email from Levenson was discovered.
Ferry reached out to Deng and the player’s agent on Monday to apologize for the comments.
Deng had interest from the Hawks but signed with the Miami Heat.
The NBA and other Hawks owners decided it would be best for Levenson to sell his share in the team. That announcement was made on Sunday.
My initial suspicion when I heard the story on Sunday was that one of the other owners leaked the email because he wanted to push out Levenson. Whether that was motivated by concerns about Levenson’s character or other reasons, that owner got his way.