Dear Danny Ferry,
Man, Danny Ferry. Part of me wants to thank you for revealing the continued prescence of a racist mindset in the modern NBA. Why? Because the NBA, like other sports leagues, loves to act like their "ish" doesn't stink when it comes to racism. But I cannot do so as I’m significantly saddened by the revelation that you appear to be a racist. There are just too many places for us to start, but let’s begin with your background. Your basketball lineage at DeMatha High School is filled with African American contemporaries so it’s probably a safe bet to say that white basketball standouts are something of an outlier at DeMatha since the 80s. As a former high school All-American, Naismith Player of the Year and UPI player of the year as a Duke Blue Devil, it’s clear that you’ve been around Black people for a really long time and are well aware of the types of things that piss African Americans off.
As an NBA player for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs, you worked side-by-side with Tim Duncan and Tony Parker. You stepped into a cushy NBA front office gig almost immediately following your retirement with the San Antonio Spurs, then parlayed that into a GM position with the Cleveland Cavaliers not soon after. As you are well aware of, the magic of organized team sports is the way that it brings together people of various races, ethnicities and national origins in pursuit of a single goal. Other than dealing with someone who is a demonstrated liar, the fastest way to poison a team dynamic is by reminding them of their differences. With that in mind, it’s shocking for me to hear these things come out of your mouth, but not surprising that an NBA GM is a racist. I’m just surprised that it was you, the product of Duke University and mentee of the great Mike Krzyzewski.
“Not in a bad way, but he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.” You stated in reference to the scouted player, later to be revealed as Luol Deng.
Gearon added: “Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and impliedly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat.”
Tell us how you REALLY feel Danny. The unmitigated gall displayed by you following the revelation of said comments is thick-headed to say the least. You tried to pawn it off as if you were innocently reading a scouting report. Man, tell your sad story walking.
Those comments prompted minority owner Mike Gearon to call for you to be fired, but majority owner Bruce Levenson had your back. Now that Levenson has fallen on his proverbial sword for injecting racially insensitive drivel into a company email about attendance at Philips Arena, it might be a good idea for you to follow suit and simply resign. Yes, minority owner Gearon is already on record as having dulled out a severe but undisclosed punishment to you for your actions, but the team’s internal dynamics aren’t the problem here. It’s the demographic of your own fan base.
The Atlanta Hawks play in Atlanta, Georgia, the Mecca of the American Civil Rights movement and the unofficial capital of the Black South. The town is 54 percent African American. In his own racially charged email, owner Bruce Levenson himself stated that, on average, 70 percent of your audience is African American. In addition, the roster make up of your team is 75 percent Black. It doesn’t take a genius to see that you’re hurting the Atlanta Hawks franchise and the NBA brand by remaining in your current position.
You have since said that you were reading off of a scouting report when you uttered the words we’ve quoted above. Did you have a Ron Burgundy moment? If so, then at the very least you need lose your job for being stupid enough to read it aloud. And, regarding this phantom scout that you so "eloquently" quoted, what type of organization would hire someone who feels safe enough to use such language in an official company communication in the first place? Unless, of course, said scout was aware that this type of talk was allowed and encouraged. Man, just stupidity and ignorance from top to bottom. The NBA loves to say how playing in the National Basketball Association is a privilege and not a right.
The same should be said for owners and front office workers as well.
A Disgusted Basketball Fan