The Atlanta Hawks are currently embroiled in a minor ownership scandal concerning self-reported charges of racism against team owner Bruce Levenson. We say minor only because this has been a fairly straightforward procedure compared to the Donald Sterling fiasco. Levenson has already publicly apologized and announced his intentions to sell the team yesterday.
However, reports today indicate that this process will not go as neatly as Levenson and his team may desire. A source speaking with Yahoo! Sports's Adrian Wojnarowski claims that the organizational racism doesn't end with Levenson. Today, the source outed general manager Danny Ferry, saying that the Hawks executive made a racist remark concerning NBA forward Luol Deng during a phone call with Atlanta's ownership group in July. The group was discussing available free agents for the team.
Reportedly, Ferry said of Deng: "He's still a young guy overall. 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."
It's unclear exactly what way Ferry was trying to say it. It is know that Deng was born in Sudan. Whatever Ferry was trying to indicate though, he just as easily could've said those exact words instead of pointing to Deng's heritage and expecting everyone to get the reference. It was tactless, to say the least.
Now, Ferry and the Hawks are left with a larger mess on their hands than before. It's well possible that Levenson is not the only one on his way out of Atlanta. According to Wojnarowski's sources, Ferry met with Hawks players and coaches on Sunday to publicly apologize for the remark. There is no word yet on how Atlanta personnel are feeling about these new developments within their organization. If we had to guess, team morale probably isn't great.