Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has disciplined general manager Danny Ferry Tuesday over racially offensive comments Ferry made about free agent Luol Deng.
The details of the discipline have not been made available.
Ferry had told the Hawks that Deng "has a little African in him" and was a "two-faced liar and cheat," according to a letter from the team's co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. obtained by Atlanta's WSB-TV. The move comes after news of Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson selling his interest in the team after self-reporting an email with racist comments directed at the Hawks' fan base.
Hawks spokesman Garin Narain told the Associated Press the team's investigation of his comments led to Levenson exposing his email.
Though Ferry has apologized for the comments, he said he was merely repeating what he had heard about Deng in the following statement released by the team:
In regards to the insensitive remarks that were used during our due diligence process, I was repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources during background conversations and scouting about different players.
I repeated those comments during a telephone conversation reviewing the draft and free agency process. Those words do not reflect my views, or words that I would use to describe an individual and I certainly regret it. I apologize to those I offended and to Luol, who I reached out to Monday morning."
Even so, Gearon Jr. had called Ferry's comments "far worse" than those made by former Clippers owner Donald Sterling. In Sterling's case, his racist comments led to him selling his team this year.