Atlanta Hawks' owner Bruce Levenson was recently investigated by the NBA for a 2012 racially charged e-mail about white fans being scared away by black fans, and the high number of black cheerleaders.
That same investigation has uncovered an offensive racial comment by the Hawks' general manager Danny Ferry, reports CNN (video below).
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution obtained audio (below) of a June 6 conference call in which Ferry says that player Luol Deng has "some African in him."
“He’s a good guy overall, but he’s not perfect," Ferry states on the call. "He’s got some African in him. And I don’t mean that in a bad way.”
“That comment sound like [Donald] Sterling,” added Hawks' minority owner Michael Gearon on the call. “You need to tape this s---. That’s going to be on TMZ tonight.”
The rest of the hour-long recording was reportedly lost.
CBS Sports reports that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Ferry's comments “clearly inappropriate and unacceptable."
“In my view, those comments, taken alone, do not merit his losing his job,” added Silver.
According to CNN, Ferry apologized for the comments in a statement, "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."
Deng, who now plays for the Miami Heat, responded with his own statement: "I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just 'a little.' For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength.
"Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can think of no greater privilege than to do what I love for a living while also representing my heritage on the highest stage. Unfortunately, the comment about my heritage was not made with the same respect and appreciation," added Deng.