The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Channel 2 Action News jointly obtained a background report on Luol Deng that has been the center of a firestorm that has rocked the Hawks organization.
The report, with names and some passages redacted, contains racially insensitive remarks about Deng. The source of the redacting is unclear. The remarks were read by general manager Danny Ferry during a conference call with ownership and management in June. It began an investigation, first by the Hawks and then the NBA, which led to controlling owner Bruce Levenson announcing his intention to sell his interest in the team Sunday. It has also put Ferry on the hot seat for repeating the comments.
A section of the report, which is dated June 6, 2014, reads: “He is a good guy on the cover but he’s an African. He has a little two-step in him = says what you want to hear, but behind closed doors he could be killing. Con isn’t bad but there. African-like, store front looks great but there’s a black market section in the back.”
Another section reads: “He complained about things like not enough team jerseys in the team store or that his bobble head was last during the year.”
In the audio recording of the conference call obtained by the AJC, also held on June 6, 2014, Ferry says the following: “The rap on him is little bit, um, body is not as torn up as you think, um, although he’s played a lot of minutes. If managed the right way he’ll be fine. He’s still a young guy overall, um, but here is also, he is 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 other than he is a guy who will do something behind you.”
He also said: He has a storefront out front that is beautiful and great, but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you. And when I say that, what I mean for example, is he can come out and be an unnamed source for a story, um, and maybe two days later come out and say ‘That was absolutely not me. I cannot believe someone said that.’ But talking to reporters you know it’s him.”
The source of the information and who entered it into the team’s database remains unknown. According to the cover page on Deng, the information was gathered from either a teammate or front office personnel in Chicago or Cleveland.
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