NBA Commissioner Adam Silver understands the outrage, but doesn’t agree with the suggestion that Altanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry should be let go by the team for having repeated some racist comments about Luol Deng.
Silver thinks Ferry’s track record and the fact that he was simply relaying second-hand opinions about Deng to his bosses should factor into the decision. Per USA Today:
“The discipline of a team employee is typically determined by the team, and in this case the Hawks hired a prestigious Atlanta law firm to investigate the circumstances of Danny Ferry’s clearly inappropriate and unacceptable remarks,” Silver said. “In my view, those comments, taken alone, do not merit his losing his job.
“It’s a question of context … These words, in this context, understanding the full story here, the existence of the scouting report, the fact that he was looking at the scouting report as a reference when he was making these remarks, what I’m saying is – and frankly my opinion — is that this is a team decision in terms of what the appropriate discipline is for their employee. But if I’m being asked my view, I’m saying that, based on what I know about the circumstances, I don’t think it’s a terminable offense.”
Ferry, who was the general manager for the Cleveland Cavaliers for a majority of the first LeBron James era, said in the conference call that Deng “is still a young guy overall. He is a good guy overall. But he is not perfect. He’s got some African in him. And I don’t say that in a bad way. But he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell your counterfeit stuff out of the back.”