Hawks to ‘Punish’ GM Danny Ferry for Repeating a Racist Comment

During a high-level meeting to discuss free agents back in June, Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry stunned his colleagues by reading aloud a player’s background report that included a racist remark. (The free agent in question was reportedly Miami Heat forward Luol Deng.)

This triggered an internal investigation that eventually led to the revelation of a racially-charged 2012 email from majority team owner Bruce Levenson, who announced Sunday that he’s selling his share of the franchise. Per the AJC:

According to CEO Steve Koonin, the Hawks held a meeting in early June to discuss free agency. At that meeting, a player was being discussed and Ferry cited a background report that included an “offensive and racist” remark. […] “Instead of editing it, he said the comment,” Koonin said.


Following the meeting, Koonin said members of the Atlanta-based ownership group raised a red flag regarding the comment and said: ‘This is wrong. This should not be said. It’s not appropriate in any world but not a post-(Donald) Sterling world.”


In the wake of the incident, it was decided that there would be an internal investigation conducted by council. The law first of Alston and Bird conducted 19 interviews and examined 24,000 documents. During that search, the Levenson email was discovered, according to Koonin. […] According to Koonin, Ferry will be disciplined for the incident. He met with representatives of the law firm Alston and Bird late Sunday afternoon and said the undisclosed discipline exceeded their recommendation. “This is a discipline matter,” Koonin said. “He will be punished. It will remain private.”