PDA

View Full Version : Atlanta Hawks Majority Owner to Sell Team Due to racist email



Pages : [1] 2

subzero02
09-07-2014, 10:21 PM
Bruce Levenson has released a statement indicating he will sell his stake in the Hawks due to racist comments he made in an email sent to general manager Danny Ferry and others.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/07/us/nba-hawks-levenson-racist-email/index.html?c=&page=1

subzero02
09-08-2014, 12:31 AM
This Washington Post article states that Danny Ferry will also face disciplinary action for racially offensive comments he made during a meeting.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/atlanta-hawks-owner-bruce-levenson-will-sell-team-after-sending-offensive-e-mail/2014/09/07/b14b0e26-36da-11e4-bdfb-de4104544a37_story.html

HK Dukie
09-08-2014, 02:03 AM
It appears from the Atlanta sports blogs an investigation was ordered by one of the other six owners. Consider that this is an ownership group that has fought continuously among themselves (the DC contingent which Levenson is a part of and the Atlanta contingent). Also, other owners were addressed on the very same email that is in question from Levenson. This scandal could be a very good way to purge your ownership group of one of your rivals or even to intentionally force a sale because of it. It's a nice strategy to order an investigation of your rival when you already know the email that will turn up. This is much better for appearances than outing Levenson yourself and admitting that you did nothing after reading the initial email. Very Machiavellian.

As for Ferry, his involvement is that he was the main recipient of the email, and secondly and the reason for the discipline, it appears Ferry didn't edit completely a racist comment from a scouting report done by a 3rd party for the team during a prep meeting for free agency.

weezie
09-08-2014, 07:07 AM
Has the discipline action towards Ferry been covered in a press link yet?

One point of note in the original link, Levenson's comments about the DC Verizon Center employees/courtesy vs the Phillips employees. The Verizon Center is a hell hole.

Atlanta Duke
09-08-2014, 08:52 AM
This perspective from Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, who has been a regular contributor to Time recently

Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist, He’s a Businessman
http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/

And this from Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on how the e-mail being released now raises a number of questions

But why is Levenson suddenly throwing himself on the sword now? Was there some reason to think the email was going to become public?...

Levenson could have been looking for a reason to sell, anyway...

Even the Milwaukee Bucks, who are in a smaller television market than the Hawks, sold in April for $550 million.

http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/levenson-gone-but-timing-raises-questions/nhHdq/#b8a15701.645611.735484

The alleged Danny Ferry comments may be more troubling - he appeared to be turning the constantly dysfunctional Hawks around, but depending what was said his comments may be not just offensive but a factor in attracting free agents

FerryFor50
09-08-2014, 09:15 AM
This perspective from Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, who has been a regular contributor to Time recently

Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist, He’s a Businessman
http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/

And this from Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on how the e-mail being released now raises a number of questions

But why is Levenson suddenly throwing himself on the sword now? Was there some reason to think the email was going to become public?...

Levenson could have been looking for a reason to sell, anyway...

Even the Milwaukee Bucks, who are in a smaller television market than the Hawks, sold in April for $550 million.

http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/levenson-gone-but-timing-raises-questions/nhHdq/#b8a15701.645611.735484

The alleged Danny Ferry comments may be more troubling - he appeared to be turning the constantly dysfunctional Hawks around, but depending what was said his comments may be not just offensive but a factor in attracting free agents

Might as well cash in when even secondary teams in major markets are selling for $2 billion....

I'm sure he's not the only owner who has made those sorts of statements.

flyingdutchdevil
09-08-2014, 09:24 AM
This perspective from Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, who has been a regular contributor to Time recently

Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist, He’s a Businessman
http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/

And this from Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on how the e-mail being released now raises a number of questions

But why is Levenson suddenly throwing himself on the sword now? Was there some reason to think the email was going to become public?...

Levenson could have been looking for a reason to sell, anyway...

Even the Milwaukee Bucks, who are in a smaller television market than the Hawks, sold in April for $550 million.

http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/levenson-gone-but-timing-raises-questions/nhHdq/#b8a15701.645611.735484

The alleged Danny Ferry comments may be more troubling - he appeared to be turning the constantly dysfunctional Hawks around, but depending what was said his comments may be not just offensive but a factor in attracting free agents

According to ESPN, Ferry was reading information aloud about free agents when someone (Ferry or another back office employee) didn't alter the comment. The player in the profile? Luol Deng.

Atldukie79
09-08-2014, 09:40 AM
Much to consider about this event:

* The dysfunctional, multi-headed Hawks ownership has been at odds with one another for years...including internal lawsuits filed amongst the ownership. There was ample motive to "out" a fellow partner.

* In light of the Sterling debacle, there is much sensitivity to potential racial prejudice in the NBA

* The Duke factor: The scouting report that Danny Ferry read aloud (without editing some insensitive remarks) in an internal meeting was apparently about our very own L Deng. Throw in Adam Silver (judge and jury) and you have 3 Dukies in prominent roles in this saga.

I am sure the PC police will push to find who is racist and needs punishment. But I am also interested to see if the business issue focusing on target marketing as highlighted in the Jabbar article will be debated. Can legitimate discussions on what music to play in an arena to attract fans stand up to the PC scrutiny?

BigWayne
09-08-2014, 10:32 AM
This perspective from Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, who has been a regular contributor to Time recently

Bruce Levenson Isn’t a Racist, He’s a Businessman
http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/



Thanks for posting that. I was thinking a lot of the same thoughts that Kareem verbalizes here when I was reading it.
I don't see any ill will in the email, except against the whites Levenson assumes are fearful of blacks for what he feels are unwarranted reasons.

Wander
09-08-2014, 10:40 AM
There definitely has to be more to the story. I guess hard to really talk about it with the PPB rule here, but to put it lightly, his comments don't seem anywhere near fire/resign-able status, even if you think some of them are wrong.

Reisen
09-08-2014, 10:48 AM
Man, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Kareem's. I echo the other comments about Levenson having an ulterior motive here. Evidently, he has attempted to sell before.

In terms of the actual email, man, this PC environment is getting downright scary, as is the reaction of the media outlets. This was CNN's front page story last night, with huge letters calling it a "racist email". Now, they have moved it to a minor story, and refer to it as an " 'offensive' email", with offensive in quotes.

I can't say I'm a fan of Silver's comments. No business is blind to the demographics of their customer base, and that includes things such as age, race, income, sex, etc. The trend lately has been the opposite, to appeal to a more diverse customer base in all aspects of business, from above the line marketing strategy, to product design, to customer service. One need only look at a McDonald's ad to see this.

Imagine the email was reversed, and it was talking about the audience being 90% white, having all white cheerleaders, playing country music, etc. Would anyone have a problem with it? The golf and winter sports industries have talked openly like this for years.

COYS
09-08-2014, 11:38 AM
Man, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Kareem's. I echo the other comments about Levenson having an ulterior motive here. Evidently, he has attempted to sell before.

In terms of the actual email, man, this PC environment is getting downright scary, as is the reaction of the media outlets. This was CNN's front page story last night, with huge letters calling it a "racist email". Now, they have moved it to a minor story, and refer to it as an " 'offensive' email", with offensive in quotes.

I can't say I'm a fan of Silver's comments. No business is blind to the demographics of their customer base, and that includes things such as age, race, income, sex, etc. The trend lately has been the opposite, to appeal to a more diverse customer base in all aspects of business, from above the line marketing strategy, to product design, to customer service. One need only look at a McDonald's ad to see this.

Imagine the email was reversed, and it was talking about the audience being 90% white, having all white cheerleaders, playing country music, etc. Would anyone have a problem with it? The golf and winter sports industries have talked openly like this for years.

If I'm moving into PPB territory, forgive me. I will try to put this as neutrally as possible. However, the response to Levenson's email seems utterly absurd considering that only a short while ago my beloved Atlanta Braves announced that they were moving the team to Cobb County to be closer to their "core" fan base. It is simply impossible NOT to conclude that serious demographic research (which must include race, as well as class and geography) went into that decision. The language of the organization's justification for the move always troubled me, as the Braves seemed to be blatantly giving up any attempt to appeal to Atlanta as a whole and instead decided to focus on a smaller demographic. Call me crazy, but I'm far, far, far more comfortable with Levenson and other ownership groups having conversations about how to diversify the fan base, even if those conversations are crude and based on stereotypes. I certainly hope that society can rise above simple stereotypes, but it is also important that we confront our biases and figure out ways to overcome them. To me, the Braves' move to Cobb County warrants far more scrutiny than Levenson's email.

To bring this back out of PPB territory, I agree with others who think that there is a good chance that rival owners had no problem giving Levenson a reason to cash out. The whole thing is really strange and, ultimately, no one is really harmed. My hope is that the situation forces the Atlanta area into some serious soul-searching about the social dynamics that still obviously play a large role in the workings of the city.

Henderson
09-08-2014, 12:01 PM
Man, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Kareem's. I echo the other comments about Levenson having an ulterior motive here. Evidently, he has attempted to sell before.

In terms of the actual email, man, this PC environment is getting downright scary, as is the reaction of the media outlets. This was CNN's front page story last night, with huge letters calling it a "racist email". Now, they have moved it to a minor story, and refer to it as an " 'offensive' email", with offensive in quotes.

I can't say I'm a fan of Silver's comments. No business is blind to the demographics of their customer base, and that includes things such as age, race, income, sex, etc. The trend lately has been the opposite, to appeal to a more diverse customer base in all aspects of business, from above the line marketing strategy, to product design, to customer service. One need only look at a McDonald's ad to see this.

Imagine the email was reversed, and it was talking about the audience being 90% white, having all white cheerleaders, playing country music, etc. Would anyone have a problem with it? The golf and winter sports industries have talked openly like this for years.

But there are ways to approach things that accomplish the business goals without being unnecessarily inflammatory. If Levenson had sent a memo stating his belief that the Hawks would benefit from a widely diverse fan base and that team marketing could assist in that endeavor, there would be no story. "Our business model would be better served by focusing on a diverse fan base" is a different message from "We need less black-ness and more white-ness." I think Levenson was thinking the former and typed out the latter. As an owner, he's charged with protecting the brand, and he besmirched the brand with his followups about black income levels.

It's not about being less-than-candid or substituting code phrases. It's about behaving politely and focusing on the business issue at hand (in this case, diversity of fan base) without resorting to unnecessarily inflammatory stereotypes. People just have to get past this idea that if they think their racial stereotypes are accurate, they should blurt them out. I'm talking basic civility of public discourse. But it's not just a matter of being civil; it's also smart business.

Billy Dat
09-08-2014, 12:09 PM
If I'm moving into PPB territory, forgive me. I will try to put this as neutrally as possible. However, the response to Levenson's email seems utterly absurd considering that only a short while ago my beloved Atlanta Braves announced that they were moving the team to Cobb County to be closer to their "core" fan base. It is simply impossible NOT to conclude that serious demographic research (which must include race, as well as class and geography) went into that decision. The language of the organization's justification for the move always troubled me, as the Braves seemed to be blatantly giving up any attempt to appeal to Atlanta as a whole and instead decided to focus on a smaller demographic. Call me crazy, but I'm far, far, far more comfortable with Levenson and other ownership groups having conversations about how to diversify the fan base, even if those conversations are crude and based on stereotypes. I certainly hope that society can rise above simple stereotypes, but it is also important that we confront our biases and figure out ways to overcome them. To me, the Braves' move to Cobb County warrants far more scrutiny than Levenson's email.

To bring this back out of PPB territory, I agree with others who think that there is a good chance that rival owners had no problem giving Levenson a reason to cash out. The whole thing is really strange and, ultimately, no one is really harmed. My hope is that the situation forces the Atlanta area into some serious soul-searching about the social dynamics that still obviously play a large role in the workings of the city.

Atlanta has always had a bad reputation as a sports town from a fan enthusiasm perspective. Do those of you who live there think its partially race based, that there is, perhaps, a lack of unity between the white and black fans, to cite the two largest buckets of fans? COYS, I feel like that's kind of what you were getting at with the "appeal to Atlanta as a whole". I am wondering if this is a race thing or a race thing particular to Atlanta and maybe the south because up here in NY, in reference to Levenson's observation that the black fans are more reserved, I have seen plenty of screaming and rabid black fans right next to the similarly insane white fans and wacko asian fans...and there's just as many more reserved black and white and asian fans, and white fans, and you get the picture. Is it just that Race will always loom large in the American South?

subzero02
09-08-2014, 12:21 PM
Man, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Kareem's. I echo the other comments about Levenson having an ulterior motive here. Evidently, he has attempted to sell before.

In terms of the actual email, man, this PC environment is getting downright scary, as is the reaction of the media outlets. This was CNN's front page story last night, with huge letters calling it a "racist email". Now, they have moved it to a minor story, and refer to it as an " 'offensive' email", with offensive in quotes.

I can't say I'm a fan of Silver's comments. No business is blind to the demographics of their customer base, and that includes things such as age, race, income, sex, etc. The trend lately has been the opposite, to appeal to a more diverse customer base in all aspects of business, from above the line marketing strategy, to product design, to customer service. One need only look at a McDonald's ad to see this.

Imagine the email was reversed, and it was talking about the audience being 90% white, having all white cheerleaders, playing country music, etc. Would anyone have a problem with it? The golf and winter sports industries have talked openly like this for years.

The problem with some of the comments in the email is that Levenson implies the racist beliefs held by potential white fans is partially to blame for this demographic group's lack of attendance at Hawks games. Levenson states that his theory is that the "...black crowd scared away the whites...", and that "...southern whites simply were not comfortable being in an arena or a bar where they were in the miniority...". This is a major concern of his because he feels there aren't enough affluent blacks who purchase season tickets and expensive concessions. Levenson wants to reduce the proportion of blacks at games because he believes that many southern whites will not attend games at Philips Arena until the crowd demographics change. There is nothing wrong with marketing to a particular ethnic demographic but I do have a problem with marketing to a particular group by apppeasing sentiments that are blatantly racist. If you choose not to attend a basketball game because the crowd is 40 to 70 percent black in a city that is over 50 percent black, then you're racist and are probably living in the wrong city.

theAlaskanBear
09-08-2014, 12:25 PM
Man, I couldn't be a bigger fan of Kareem's. I echo the other comments about Levenson having an ulterior motive here. Evidently, he has attempted to sell before.

In terms of the actual email, man, this PC environment is getting downright scary, as is the reaction of the media outlets. This was CNN's front page story last night, with huge letters calling it a "racist email". Now, they have moved it to a minor story, and refer to it as an " 'offensive' email", with offensive in quotes.

I can't say I'm a fan of Silver's comments. No business is blind to the demographics of their customer base, and that includes things such as age, race, income, sex, etc. The trend lately has been the opposite, to appeal to a more diverse customer base in all aspects of business, from above the line marketing strategy, to product design, to customer service. One need only look at a McDonald's ad to see this.

Imagine the email was reversed, and it was talking about the audience being 90% white, having all white cheerleaders, playing country music, etc. Would anyone have a problem with it? The golf and winter sports industries have talked openly like this for years.

The problem arises when Levenson outlines the business strategy, which seems to be predicated on fewer black people attending games and lower prominence in the arena in order to appeal to what he assumes is a racially motivated lack of attendance by white Atlanta males. Rather talking about increasing diversity or how to compete for season ticket holders against three other major sports franchises: Hawks, Braves, Thrashers, he accuses his teams own fans of sabotaging their success. He talks about the drop of black attendance as a success and insinuates that 40% black attendance is still too high because "it may feel like 70%" to "southern white males" and that its 4 times that of other teams. He goes on to say things like: "the kiss cam is too black" and that "a lot of blacks don't seem to go as crazy cheering (just another one of my theories)".

I understand that businessmen like Levenson are after the almighty dollar. But rather than to approach the low season ticket holder as a challenge and specifically look for ways to increase the Atlanta Hawk brand among the wider Atlanta community, he uses black attendance as an excuse and seeks to marginalize them in the Arena in order to attract racist white patrons. Instead of better networking for corporate ticket holders or, god-forbid, putting a better team on the floor, he has " bitched about the kiss cam being too black." Really? Does anyone give a flying *&#^ about the kiss cam when purchasing tickets? Is black people kissing repugnant to whites? His email may not have any overt nastiness in it, but it contains a rancid fruit, and this is completely setting aside the issue of claiming southern white men wont attend Atlanta Hawks games because they are racist...an assumption that should never enter into any strategy session about trying to expand your customer base.

wilson
09-08-2014, 12:27 PM
If I'm moving into PPB territory, forgive me. I will try to put this as neutrally as possible. However, the response to Levenson's email seems utterly absurd considering that only a short while ago my beloved Atlanta Braves announced that they were moving the team to Cobb County to be closer to their "core" fan base. It is simply impossible NOT to conclude that serious demographic research (which must include race, as well as class and geography) went into that decision. The language of the organization's justification for the move always troubled me, as the Braves seemed to be blatantly giving up any attempt to appeal to Atlanta as a whole and instead decided to focus on a smaller demographic. Call me crazy, but I'm far, far, far more comfortable with Levenson and other ownership groups having conversations about how to diversify the fan base, even if those conversations are crude and based on stereotypes. I certainly hope that society can rise above simple stereotypes, but it is also important that we confront our biases and figure out ways to overcome them. To me, the Braves' move to Cobb County warrants far more scrutiny than Levenson's email.

To bring this back out of PPB territory, I agree with others who think that there is a good chance that rival owners had no problem giving Levenson a reason to cash out. The whole thing is really strange and, ultimately, no one is really harmed. My hope is that the situation forces the Atlanta area into some serious soul-searching about the social dynamics that still obviously play a large role in the workings of the city.As a lifelong Atlantan, I could not agree more. Levenson's thoughts, while coarsely constructed and poorly articulated, are not wrong. Atlanta is a racially divided city, and sports franchises do face a problem in marketing to the whole cross-section. A rather heavily self-segregated population reinforces this divide, and as you point out, is leading the Braves into the suburbs to cater to their "core demographic" (the one that hates venturing into the big, bad city, has rejected public transit for decades, and doesn't seem at all inclined to invite outsiders in to its coming new stadium). Local sports radio is talking today about how preposterous Levenson's comments are, but they're really not...they're just a rather tactless expression of a very real rift that runs to the core of Atlanta.

Wander
09-08-2014, 12:44 PM
The problem with some of the comments in the email is that Levenson implies the racist beliefs held by potential white fans is partially to blame for this demographic group's lack of attendance at Hawks games.

Why is this a problem? It seems like a reasonable possibility to explore. Maybe it's true and maybe it's not, but I don't think we should be banning people, especially in non-public e-mails, from discussing the possibility. Recognition that prejudice exists and hypothesizing that it may have an effect on business isn't inflammatory itself, right?

Atlanta Duke
09-08-2014, 12:47 PM
Atlanta has always had a bad reputation as a sports town from a fan enthusiasm perspective. Do those of you who live there think its partially race based, that there is, perhaps, a lack of unity between the white and black fans, to cite the two largest buckets of fans? COYS, I feel like that's kind of what you were getting at with the "appeal to Atlanta as a whole". I am wondering if this is a race thing or a race thing particular to Atlanta and maybe the south because up here in NY, in reference to Levenson's observation that the black fans are more reserved, I have seen plenty of screaming and rabid black fans right next to the similarly insane white fans and wacko asian fans...and there's just as many more reserved black and white and asian fans, and white fans, and you get the picture. Is it just that Race will always loom large in the American South?

I have lived in Atlanta since the 80s but do not believe it is a good pro sports town because of so many residents moving in from other parts of the country, with loyalties to pro teams they watched growing up, and UGA football being the number one passion in Atlanta as well as the rest of Georgia. I will be interested to see how it plays out this season, but when the Steelers last played in Atlanta in 2006 I was among what I estimated to be one-third of the crowd rooting for the Steelers.

I do not believe race is a major factor - Atlanta fans will show up when a pro team plays well and then quit showing up when it is not - the Hawks have not made it to a conference championship playoff game since I have lived here.

flyingdutchdevil
09-08-2014, 12:54 PM
I have lived in Atlanta since the 80s but do not believe it is a good pro sports town because of so many residents moving in from other parts of the country, with loyalties to pro teams they watched growing up, and UGA football being the number one passion in Atlanta as well as the rest of Georgia. I will be interested to see how it plays out this season, but when the Steelers last played in Atlanta in 2006 I was among what I estimated to be one-third of the crowd rooting for the Steelers.

I do not believe race is a major factor - Atlanta fans will show up when a pro team plays well and then quit showing up when it is not - the Hawks have not made it to a conference championship playoff game since I have lived here.

The same can be said for Washington, NYC, Boston, and plenty of other cities.

Here is a study of the most transient cities in the US: http://www.creditdonkey.com/where-wanderers.html. Atlanta is not in the top 10.

subzero02
09-08-2014, 12:57 PM
Why is this a problem? It seems like a reasonable possibility to explore. Maybe it's true and maybe it's not, but I don't think we should be banning people, especially in non-public e-mails, from discussing the possibility. Recognition that prejudice exists and hypothesizing that it may have an effect on business isn't inflammatory itself, right?

The problem arises from designing a marketing strategy to pacify those perceived sentiments... I should've reworded my first sentence.

Henderson
09-08-2014, 01:14 PM
Levenson's current project is a partnership to turn white bread into dark brown toast in 3 seconds. No kidding.

Atldukie79
09-08-2014, 01:22 PM
I also have lived in Atlanta since the 80's.

Atlanta has a reputation for harboring fair weather fans. To the extend this is true, I believe it is more a function of having pro franchises ranging from wretched to above average over the past 60 years, with few highlights. The Braves of the 90's were rabidly followed for example, when they were consistently above average. The first priority here is college football. And the second and the third. There is little familial connection to the pro sports. You are more apt to see college attire than pro attire around town.

Regarding the Braves relocation to the suburbs, I view that as a practical business move and nothing else. With the internet and cable and HD TV, the suburbanites (and there are more of those in Atlanta than not) find it less worth the time and hassle of driving into town for a game. I suspect the Braves will increase attendance dramatically when they move.

Regarding attendance at Hawks games, it is not necessarily a racist thing to target certain groups of people to market your product to... I suspect I was a core target for the hawks for the past 30 years...an avid hoops fan and rec player. But I did not enjoy the couple of games I have attended. I did not care for the commute (yes...I am a suburbanite), the product (college hoops>pro hoops) and no...I did not care for the music either.

Henderson
09-08-2014, 01:25 PM
Local sports radio is talking today about how preposterous Levenson's comments are, but they're really not...they're just a rather tactless expression of a very real rift that runs to the core of Atlanta.

And my, how helpful he was in bridging that divide.

Atlanta Duke
09-08-2014, 01:32 PM
The same can be said for Washington, NYC, Boston, and plenty of other cities.

Here is a study of the most transient cities in the US: http://www.creditdonkey.com/where-wanderers.html. Atlanta is not in the top 10.

All I can say is that is what I have seen from living here for over thirty years - a least one recent study seems to support my observation on the transient nature of the Atlanta population

Other top cities Americans moved to this summer were Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Portland.

The cities with the most outbound moves after Washington were Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles.

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2013/09/05/phoenix-among-most-transient-cities-in.html?page=all

In addition to so many residents coming from somewhere else (the Atlanta metro area has grown from 2 million to 5 million since I moved here - that comes from more than births at Northside Hospital), the roots for the Atlanta pro teams simply are not as deep. The pro teams for the three cities you cite ("Team With Name Many Find Offensive," Yankees/Giants, Red Sox) have both a longer history and no significant college competition (unless you want to count the Terps:D).

Mark Bradley of the AJC has been here since the mid-80s - his thoughts

We have alums from everywhere. Take a lap around the Perimeter on an autumn weekend, and you’ll see cars bound for Athens, yes, but also farther north to Clemson. And east to Columbia. And west to Tuscaloosa. And north to Knoxville. And south to Gainesville. And southwest to the loveliest village. One lap and you’ll see so many different flags fluttering from vehicles you’d swear you’d happened upon a mobile United Nations....

Only that’s the thing: We’re not united in our collegiate loyalties. We’re split a dozen different ways. That doesn’t mean we care any less about sports. It just means that, unlike hardy New Englanders, we don’t all hang on Papelbon’s next delivery...

Think of it this way: Bobby Dodd and Vince Dooley were coaching against one another when the Braves were still in Milwaukee. Dodd was coaching against Wally Butts when the Braves were based in Boston.

Simply put, we care more about college football than we do about anything else, which isn’t to say we don’t care about the other stuff. But our roots to the college game simply run deeper.

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2009/08/31/this-just-in-atlanta-ga-is-not-a-lousy-sports-city/

I suppose Dallas might be a comparable city to Atlanta and the Cowboys obviously have a devoted following in a State with a great college sports tradition. Having won 5 Lombardis might have something to do with that.

flyingdutchdevil
09-08-2014, 01:56 PM
All I can say is that is what I have seen from living here for over thirty years - a least one recent study seems to support my observation on the transient nature of the Atlanta population

Other top cities Americans moved to this summer were Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Portland.

The cities with the most outbound moves after Washington were Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Phoenix, New York and Los Angeles.

http://www.bizjournals.com/phoenix/news/2013/09/05/phoenix-among-most-transient-cities-in.html?page=all

In addition to so many residents coming from somewhere else (the Atlanta metro area has grown from 2 million to 5 million since I moved here - that comes from more than births at Northside Hospital), the roots for the Atlanta pro teams simply are not as deep. The pro teams for the three cities you cite ("Team With Name Many Find Offensive," Yankees/Giants, Red Sox) have both a longer history and no significant college competition (unless you want to count the Terps:D).

Mark Bradley of the AJC has been here since the mid-80s - his thoughts

We have alums from everywhere. Take a lap around the Perimeter on an autumn weekend, and you’ll see cars bound for Athens, yes, but also farther north to Clemson. And east to Columbia. And west to Tuscaloosa. And north to Knoxville. And south to Gainesville. And southwest to the loveliest village. One lap and you’ll see so many different flags fluttering from vehicles you’d swear you’d happened upon a mobile United Nations....

Only that’s the thing: We’re not united in our collegiate loyalties. We’re split a dozen different ways. That doesn’t mean we care any less about sports. It just means that, unlike hardy New Englanders, we don’t all hang on Papelbon’s next delivery...

Think of it this way: Bobby Dodd and Vince Dooley were coaching against one another when the Braves were still in Milwaukee. Dodd was coaching against Wally Butts when the Braves were based in Boston.

Simply put, we care more about college football than we do about anything else, which isn’t to say we don’t care about the other stuff. But our roots to the college game simply run deeper.

http://blogs.ajc.com/mark-bradley-blog/2009/08/31/this-just-in-atlanta-ga-is-not-a-lousy-sports-city/

I suppose Dallas might be a comparable city to Atlanta and the Cowboys obviously have a devoted following in a State with a great college sports tradition. Having won 5 Lombardis might have something to do with that.

I absolutely agree that roots are a very important factor. Being a transient city - while it may seem important - really isn't as important as many think. NYC, Boston, DC, SF all have successful franchises (and these are cities experiencing plenty of in-and-out traffic), and a lot of that has to do with the fact that these teams have deep roots. Sports fans want great experiences, and history/culture will do that.

I honestly think Atlanta needs to do a better job of marketing it's amazing food to free agents. For me, that would be such an important quality from a city perspective. Better food, better free agents. Too simple? Yup. Does it work like that? Nope.

BigWayne
09-08-2014, 02:19 PM
If I'm moving into PPB territory, forgive me. I will try to put this as neutrally as possible. However, the response to Levenson's email seems utterly absurd considering that only a short while ago my beloved Atlanta Braves announced that they were moving the team to Cobb County to be closer to their "core" fan base. It is simply impossible NOT to conclude that serious demographic research (which must include race, as well as class and geography) went into that decision. The language of the organization's justification for the move always troubled me, as the Braves seemed to be blatantly giving up any attempt to appeal to Atlanta as a whole and instead decided to focus on a smaller demographic. Call me crazy, but I'm far, far, far more comfortable with Levenson and other ownership groups having conversations about how to diversify the fan base, even if those conversations are crude and based on stereotypes. I certainly hope that society can rise above simple stereotypes, but it is also important that we confront our biases and figure out ways to overcome them. To me, the Braves' move to Cobb County warrants far more scrutiny than Levenson's email.

To bring this back out of PPB territory, I agree with others who think that there is a good chance that rival owners had no problem giving Levenson a reason to cash out. The whole thing is really strange and, ultimately, no one is really harmed. My hope is that the situation forces the Atlanta area into some serious soul-searching about the social dynamics that still obviously play a large role in the workings of the city.
In the past, and I doubt it has changed that much since I moved out of the area, the way the Atlanta and Fulton County governments liked to run things would likely be an incentive for sports teams to move to another political jurisdiction. This may be just as important as the geography and demographics.

wilson
09-08-2014, 02:23 PM
And my, how helpful he was in bridging that divide.Well, as I said, his comments on the divide were tasteless and tactless. But the sentiment among the pundits I've heard today is that he's wrong in his fundamental assumptions, which is not true. They're claiming that there's no divide of the sort referred to in Levenson's email, and they are wrong.

Reisen
09-08-2014, 02:30 PM
The problem arises when Levenson outlines the business strategy, which seems to be predicated on fewer black people attending games and lower prominence in the arena in order to appeal to what he assumes is a racially motivated lack of attendance by white Atlanta males. Rather talking about increasing diversity or how to compete for season ticket holders against three other major sports franchises: Hawks, Braves, Thrashers, he accuses his teams own fans of sabotaging their success. He talks about the drop of black attendance as a success and insinuates that 40% black attendance is still too high because "it may feel like 70%" to "southern white males" and that its 4 times that of other teams. He goes on to say things like: "the kiss cam is too black" and that "a lot of blacks don't seem to go as crazy cheering (just another one of my theories)".

I understand that businessmen like Levenson are after the almighty dollar. But rather than to approach the low season ticket holder as a challenge and specifically look for ways to increase the Atlanta Hawk brand among the wider Atlanta community, he uses black attendance as an excuse and seeks to marginalize them in the Arena in order to attract racist white patrons. Instead of better networking for corporate ticket holders or, god-forbid, putting a better team on the floor, he has " bitched about the kiss cam being too black." Really? Does anyone give a flying *&#^ about the kiss cam when purchasing tickets? Is black people kissing repugnant to whites? His email may not have any overt nastiness in it, but it contains a rancid fruit, and this is completely setting aside the issue of claiming southern white men wont attend Atlanta Hawks games because they are racist...an assumption that should never enter into any strategy session about trying to expand your customer base.

So, I think this is pretty key. Levenson never says he wants to reduce the number of black fans, and certainly not a Sterling-esque "I don't want black people at my games". I suspect his view of going from 90% to 40% black attendance as a success is all about successfully attracting new white fans, not getting rid of existing black fans.

The kiss cam comment was just one of a number of experiential observations, including cheerleaders, music, bars, etc. I didn't read anything more nefarious into it than that. I think the key there is he's not saying "I don't want black people on the kiss cam, I don't want black cheerleaders, and I don't want the stadium playing rap." He's saying "I don't want only black people on the kiss cam, an all-black cheerleading squad, and exclusively rap being played" (I have no idea if any of that is true, btw). Having any business so centered on one racial/cultural demographic is simply self-limiting, whether you're a fast food chain, golf retailer, ski resort, or basketball team. His complaint seemed to be that the in-arena experience was clearly targeted at the black demographic, and he wanted to broaden the appeal to better target white males.

lotusland
09-08-2014, 02:35 PM
The problem arises from designing a marketing strategy to pacify those perceived sentiments... I should've reworded my first sentence.

Marketing strategies should be derived to increase profits no? What's wrong with targeting the demographic with the most money? The Hawks didn't cause the socioeconomic issues at play here. You can't have it both ways. If one group suffers from said socioeconomic factors, isn't it acceptable to be aware in marketing that they are less affluent?

I don't see how any segment of society can possibly benefit from being immune to criticism.

Duvall
09-08-2014, 02:41 PM
Marketing strategies should be derived to increase profits no? What's wrong with targeting the demographic with the most money? The Hawks didn't cause the socioeconomic issues at play here. You can't have it both ways. If one group suffers from said socioeconomic factors, isn't it acceptable to be aware in marketing that they are less affluent?

I don't see how any segment of society can possibly benefit from being immune to criticism.

What are you talking about?

lotusland
09-08-2014, 02:46 PM
What are you talking about?

I just re-read my post and I don't think it is unclear so unfortunately I cannot clarify further.

sagegrouse
09-08-2014, 03:10 PM
I just re-read my post and I don't think it is unclear so unfortunately I cannot clarify further.

I understood your post, but I don't think I understand your quadruple negative quoted above.

lotusland
09-08-2014, 03:33 PM
[QUOTE=sagegrouse;745086]I understood your post, but I don't think I understand your quadruple negative quoted above.[/QUOTE

So you're saying that you can comprehend "I think I was clear" but not "I don't think I was unclear"?

Or did you just want to be snarky? The post I replied to implied that I was unclear so the way I phased it better reflects the intend of my post and I'm pretty sure it was clear to you and almost anyone else.

subzero02
09-08-2014, 03:43 PM
Marketing strategies should be derived to increase profits no? What's wrong with targeting the demographic with the most money? The Hawks didn't cause the socioeconomic issues at play here. You can't have it both ways. If one group suffers from said socioeconomic factors, isn't it acceptable to be aware in marketing that they are less affluent?

I don't see how any segment of society can possibly benefit from being immune to criticism.

The problem is that Levenson is promoting a strategy to reduce the proportion of blacks attending games because he believes some southern whites are scared and uncomfortable around crowds that are over 40 percent black. The validity of Levenson's belief about southern whites is debatable. Anyone who chooses not to attend an event because of the racial makeup of the audience is racist. No NBA franchise should have a marketing strategy designed to appease blatantly racist sentiments regarding audience demographics.

DukieInKansas
09-08-2014, 03:53 PM
The problem is that Levenson is promoting a strategy to reduce the proportion of blacks attending games because he believes some southern whites are scared and uncomfortable around crowds that are over 40 percent black. The validity of Levenson's belief about southern whites is debatable. Anyone who chooses not to attend an event because of the racial makeup of the audience is racist. No NBA franchise should have a marketing strategy designed to appease blatantly racist sentiments regarding audience demographics.

Perhaps the intent was to increase attendance and he was looking for a demographic that wasn't attending and how to go about attracting them to reach that goal. If the marketing was successful, the primary goal of increased attendance would be reached. This may have reduced the proportion of one skin color to another due to larger number in attendance but I don't think the plan was to get those already attending to stop coming - just to find ways to get another group of people to attend.

wilson
09-08-2014, 03:59 PM
Perhaps the intent was to increase attendance and he was looking for a demographic that wasn't attending and how to go about attracting them to reach that goal. If the marketing was successful, the primary goal of increased attendance would be reached. This may have reduced the proportion of one skin color to another due to larger number in attendance but I don't think the plan was to get those already attending to stop coming - just to find ways to get another group of people to attend.I think that, generally speaking, you're right, even though Levenson articulated this in terribly poor fashion. I also think that, for the most part, he's not that sad to sell his interest, given the acrimony that has defined his tenure and the mediocrity that has defined the Hawks franchise for, like, its entire existence.

sagegrouse
09-08-2014, 04:01 PM
I think that, generally speaking, you're right, even though Levenson articulated this in terribly poor fashion. I also think that, for the most part, he's not that sad to sell his interest, given the acrimony that has defined his tenure and the mediocrity that has defined the Hawks franchise for, like, its entire existence.

The Clippers sold for $2B. I expect Levenson is hoping to get $1B+ for the Hawks, and all the rest is subterfuge and indirection.

Kindly, Sage

Black Mambo
09-08-2014, 04:13 PM
I am not a fan of hypocrisy, although I understand historically where it comes from. It is generally unacceptable to deride people of different faiths, except if that faith is the societal majority (I said generally). It is generally unacceptable to deride women, but subconsciously okay to deride men (20/20 did a story on this a few years back). It is generally unacceptable to say we want a larger proportion of white people (even when they are the substantial minority, as in this case), but it would be a non-story to say we want more minorities to increase diversity. Well, in this particular case, wouldn't adding white people be in the spirit of increasing diversity (and possibly revenue)?

I agree with Kareem. Levenson had some cringe-worthy assumptions (right or wrong) about the mechanism by which to increase diversity. But I must hold my nose at anybody who tries to make this a "such and such is a racist" story. There are plenty of real race problems. This is not one of them (though it points to a real racial divide that permeates Atlanta).

I guess I should add the following race disclaimer: I don't just know a guy who is black. My best friend just is not black. Rather, I am black. Seriously. And actually my best friends is Filipino.

theAlaskanBear
09-08-2014, 05:36 PM
Perhaps the intent was to increase attendance and he was looking for a demographic that wasn't attending and how to go about attracting them to reach that goal. If the marketing was successful, the primary goal of increased attendance would be reached. This may have reduced the proportion of one skin color to another due to larger number in attendance but I don't think the plan was to get those already attending to stop coming - just to find ways to get another group of people to attend.

But thats the crux of the issue. Higher attendence, specifically more season ticket holders was the raison d'etre of the email. Instead of talking about strategies about how to raise the profile of the Hawks among white, middle-aged men and corporations that would purchase season tickets, he spends the entire email denigrating the black fans who attend the game, including unverifiable stereotypes such as black people don't cheer as hard and discussing trite cosmetic issues like the racial-ratio of the Kiss Cam. Levenson addresses the issue by treating it like a zero-sum game where having a "black image" is negative, rather than identifying real marketing approaches to engage a broader community.

Instead of looking at deficiencies in the Hawk's marketing and the product that they put on the court, it's easier for Levenson to blame southern males for being racist, and black fans for making racists uncomfortable. That's offensive to everyone (not just black people) and the exact opposite of the constructive analysis required by someone who owns an NBA team. With someone like that as controlling owner maybe it's no surprise the Hawks are a moribund franchise with declining attendance for the last 4 years.

miramar
09-08-2014, 06:12 PM
During a conference call, Danny Ferry read out loud a scouting report indicating that Luol Deng is "too African," although I have to admit I'm not quite sure what that means:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/sfl-miami-heat-luol-deng-s090814,0,4849840.story

He's probably better off somewhere other than Atlanta. In fact, I have to say that he seems to be adapting quite well to Miami:

http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-heat/la-fi-hotprop-luol-deng-house-20140902-photos,0,901380.photogallery

left_hook_lacey
09-08-2014, 07:21 PM
Well, as I said, his comments on the divide were tasteless and tactless. But the sentiment among the pundits I've heard today is that he's wrong in his fundamental assumptions, which is not true. They're claiming that there's no divide of the sort referred to in Levenson's email, and they are wrong.

I agree with you 100%. What he said was accurate. It doesn't make him a racist, it makes him poor at expressing his business acumen in an email.(His capitalization needs work also.) He even went so far as to describe some comments by white fans about the stadium not being safe as "racist garbage".

Most whites, especially affluent southern white men 33-55, which is the demographic in question, gernally don't want to mix with blacks. It's not racist to point that out and try to make business decisions based on a fact of life. The reasoning behind that truth of said demographic is a topic for another discussion, which IS shrouded in racism.

I think radio(and TV) personalities are scared to be caught on the "wrong" side of a perceived racial debate because they know what it could do to their career, so they almost always label the person that made the comment "racist" even if he/she is simply telling the facts about a social segment of America and how it affects his/her business. Race baiting articles and segments get attention, and we all know the media starve for ratings and site clicks, even at the expense of integrity and the truth. The whole over-coverage of anything that could cause controversy is really tired and played out in my opinion. Case in point, Michael Sam. Everyone in the league seemed to be over it except ESPN.

Now, having said all that, I'm anxious to see the details in the questionable comments that were made about Luol Deng during the trade talks. That could completely change my mind about the culture of the ownership and management of the Atlanta Hawks.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-08-2014, 07:22 PM
Best I can tell, this is a money play, pure and simple.

Oh, and the entirety of it is disgusting.

jacone21
09-08-2014, 07:22 PM
It's funny. During this years playoffs, I remarked to my wife how cool it was to see such a diverse crowd at Philips arena, compared to OKC, where the crowd looked like an Osmond family reunion. I saw plenty of white dudes high fiving black dudes and a lots of women and kids of all shapes, colors, and sizes. I kinda thought it was a positive thing, but then, I'm not a fan of Country music.

wilson
09-08-2014, 08:20 PM
Good stuff from Zach Lowe of Grantland (http://grantland.com/the-triangle/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-email-team-sale/) on the whole matter.
The money quote: "We shouldn’t need a reminder that NBA owners, when the cameras are off and the community rallies are over, conceive of fans mostly as walking sacks with dollar signs on them." Couldn't have said it better myself.

wilson
09-08-2014, 08:47 PM
Also worth noting: Levenson owns a controlling stake in the team, not a majority. Especially given that the Hawks' overall value is near the bottom of the league, there is zero chance he even sniffs the $1 billion that has been suggested in various places.

subzero02
09-08-2014, 08:47 PM
http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/9/8/6122057/danny-ferry-luol-deng-some-african-in-him

Danny Ferry's comment was pretty bad and also a little confusing. I'd ask him to elaborate but we're probably all better off with him keeping that tidbit to himself. I really don't know what he was trying to accomplish with his statement, if true, it was completely unnecessary.
"He's a good guy overall. But he's not perfect. He's got some African in him. And I don't mean that in a bad way."

His statement reminds of something someone would prefix with the words... "No Offense" or "I'm not a racist"... I have never heard anything intelligent conveyed following those statements; in every case the speaker would've been better off keeping his mouth shut. Ferry should probably apply that line of thought with anything he has to qualify with "I don't mean this in a bad way" especially when what he said was obviously a criticism.

cspan37421
09-08-2014, 09:29 PM
Good thing Luol is a professional basketball player who can prove he has got what it takes on the court. Given the temptation to resort to stereotypes, had he been a chef competing on Chopped, the backroom conversation among the judges might have been something like:

"He's a good chef overall. But he's not perfect. He's got some British in him."

Atlanta Duke
09-08-2014, 09:33 PM
Most whites, especially affluent southern white men 33-55, which is the demographic in question, gernally don't want to mix with blacks.

We are getting into PPB territory here but "especially affluent southern white men 33 - 55"?

My bet is that demographic includes some folks who post here:)

Reilly
09-08-2014, 09:52 PM
Wow. I mean, wow.

Gernally ... I ask what evidence they have to support it ...

There is some evidence of mixing (so, the other side of the assertion posited) ...

http://www.monticello.org/site/plantation-and-slavery/thomas-jefferson-and-sally-hemings-brief-account

TampaDuke
09-08-2014, 10:01 PM
http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/9/8/6122057/danny-ferry-luol-deng-some-african-in-him

Danny Ferry's comment was pretty bad and also a little confusing. I'd ask him to elaborate but we're probably all better off with him keeping that tidbit to himself. I really don't know what he was trying to accomplish with his statement, if true, it was completely unnecessary.
"He's a good guy overall. But he's not perfect. He's got some African in him. And I don't mean that in a bad way."

His statement reminds of something someone would prefix with the words... "No Offense" or "I'm not a racist"... I have never heard anything intelligent conveyed following those statements; in every case the speaker would've been better off keeping his mouth shut. Ferry should probably apply that line of thought with anything he has to qualify with "I don't mean this in a bad way" especially when what he said was obviously a criticism.

According to ESPN (http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11486641/atlanta-hawks-upheaval-3-months-making), Ferry was reading a scouting report prepared by another NBA team. It's not as bad as a comment originating directly from Ferry, but he should certainly know better than to lend any credence to it by repeating it.

I'd like to know which team (and who within that team) originally made the comments. So far, I haven't seen any information on that, nor have I seen anyone asking that question. If the ESPN report is accurate, that means there is another team out there with an issue that may need to be investigated.

Reisen
09-08-2014, 10:39 PM
Maybe I'm just being obtuse, but what does that even mean? "He's got some African in him. And I don't mean that in a bad way."

I assume, since it's part of a scouting report, it has something to do with basketball? Is "African" supposed to be code for something else? And if it's not something negative, what is it?

Tom B.
09-08-2014, 11:12 PM
Maybe I'm just being obtuse, but what does that even mean? "He's got some African in him. And I don't mean that in a bad way."

I assume, since it's part of a scouting report, it has something to do with basketball? Is "African" supposed to be code for something else? And if it's not something negative, what is it?


That's not a bad question, but here's the one that's puzzling me. So, we're supposed to believe that Ferry's recitation of that one phrase was The Event that triggered an extensive internal investigation by an AmLaw 100 law firm that involved interviewing 19 witnesses and reviewing at least 24,000 documents, at a cost that probably ran into the seven figures? Sorry, but I have a hard time buying that. Companies don't call in their outside counsel to do an internal investigation like that unless they're (a) worried about something big, and (b) worried that enough folks in their organization are compromised -- or at the very least would appear compromised -- for an in-house inquiry to have any credibility. There's a piece (or two, or ten) of the story that's missing here.

UVaAmbassador
09-08-2014, 11:38 PM
http://time.com/3296175/bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks-racist-email-kareem-abdul-jabbar/

muzikfrk75
09-08-2014, 11:46 PM
Yeah...Ferry is done.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2s-obtains-smoking-gun-controversial-hawks/nhJQw/

subzero02
09-09-2014, 12:22 AM
Yeah...Ferry is done.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2s-obtains-smoking-gun-controversial-hawks/nhJQw/

The letter linked in the article from minority owner J. Michael Gearon to Bruce Levenson really throws Ferry under the bus. The letter dated June 12th 2014, calls for Ferry's immediate resignation or termination. It also refers to Levenson as the majority owner. Given the tone of the letter, I am surprised that Ferry is still employed with the Hawks. Gearon mentions that there were about a dozen partners listening in on the conference call when Ferry compared Luol Deng to an African shop owner who sold counterfeit goods out of the back door.

Jim3k
09-09-2014, 01:30 AM
The letter linked in the article from minority owner J. Michael Gearon to Bruce Levenson really throws Ferry under the bus. The letter dated June 12th 2014, calls for Ferry's immediate resignation or termination. It also refers to Levenson as the majority owner. Given the tone of the letter, I am surprised that Ferry is still employed with the Hawks. Gearon mentions that there were about a dozen partners listening in on the conference call when Ferry compared Luol Deng to an African shop owner who sold counterfeit goods out of the back door.

Is it racist or racially insensitive for Ferry to assert that Deng, as a free agent, was playing both ends against the middle? Even if, as appears to be the case, Ferry made a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth, it seems to me that this falls in the category of warning the partners about a sharp business practice, not a racial slur. I suspect we'd all agree that such a warning was part of Ferry's job. Compare that with what Abdul-Jabbar said about Levenson, as set forth in the link. He found Levenson's email to be a legitimate marketing inquiry and not racist at all.

Where do we find the line between racism and a benign reference to race?

Duvall
09-09-2014, 01:33 AM
Is it racist or racially insensitive for Ferry to assert that Deng, as a free agent, was playing both ends against the middle? Even if, as appears to be the case, Ferry made a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth, it seems to me that this falls in the category of warning the partners about a sharp business practice, not a racial slur. I suspect we'd all agree that such a warning was part of Ferry's job. Compare that with what Abdul-Jabbar said about Levenson, as set forth in the link. He found Levenson's email to be a legitimate marketing inquiry and not racist at all.

Where do we find the line between racism and a benign reference to race?

You're kidding, right?

djp10
09-09-2014, 01:44 AM
Is it racist or racially insensitive for Ferry to assert that Deng, as a free agent, was playing both ends against the middle? Even if, as appears to be the case, Ferry made a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth, it seems to me that this falls in the category of warning the partners about a sharp business practice, not a racial slur. I suspect we'd all agree that such a warning was part of Ferry's job. Compare that with what Abdul-Jabbar said about Levenson, as set forth in the link. He found Levenson's email to be a legitimate marketing inquiry and not racist at all.

Where do we find the line between racism and a benign reference to race?
let me answer that for you: this is not close to being a benign reference to race.

muzikfrk75
09-09-2014, 02:06 AM
You're kidding, right?

Yeah, I hope he's kidding...

subzero02
09-09-2014, 02:15 AM
Is it racist or racially insensitive for Ferry to assert that Deng, as a free agent, was playing both ends against the middle? Even if, as appears to be the case, Ferry made a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth, it seems to me that this falls in the category of warning the partners about a sharp business practice, not a racial slur. I suspect we'd all agree that such a warning was part of Ferry's job. Compare that with what Abdul-Jabbar said about Levenson, as set forth in the link. He found Levenson's email to be a legitimate marketing inquiry and not racist at all.

Where do we find the line between racism and a benign reference to race?

I don't see how you interpret Ferry's comment as merely a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth. I think it's blatantly obvious that what Ferry said was a disparaging critique of Deng as an African and of Africans in general.

just a lemma
09-09-2014, 02:43 AM
I wonder how many more people will claim or insinuate without evidence that Danny Ferry was expressing his own opinions.

According to the AJC (http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/levenson-to-sell-interest-in-hawks-after-inflammat/nhHfJ/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcst ub1#e9416f18.257061.735483) and many other sources, Ferry was reading a report that contained racist remarks and was not the originator of those remarks.

"According to Koonin, the Hawks held a meeting in early June to discuss free agency. At that meeting, a player was being discussed and Ferry cited a background report that included an “offensive and racist” remark."

But SBN or BR type of sites are omitting that detail in an effort to make the story more sensational. If anything, I would put forth the conjecture that one of the other part-owners with no power over team operations saw an opportunity for a power-grab and is exploiting the Sterling situation. Who knows what anyone really thinks these days, but are we really that eager to believe that Ferry is guilty of blue-on-blue crime?

It's almost as if some people just delight in any opportunity to condemn others for racism regardless of whether they have the necessary information. Based on what's out there, a recording of the conference call exists and the Hawks' owners know that it is in the hands of the complaining party and they have not fired Ferry. In light of that, it seems quite likely Ferry was merely reading someone else's report. Otherwise, the Hawks' owners are idiots who cannot tie their own shoelaces. I am fairly certain that none of them are named James Dolan.

Jim3k
09-09-2014, 02:47 AM
OK, guys. Calm down. My question about the line is not intended to be a hot button. It is/was rhetorical.

The problem with analyzing anyone's remark about anything racial is that whatever triggers sensitivity always has a subjective component. (Objective components are easy to see.) That being the case, there is a great deal of space between what is racist and what is benign. Consider the old maps where the mapmaker knows that a political divider is in dispute. So he cross-hatches the territory to show that dispute. There is no bright line to be found in those old territorial disputes.

Likewise there is no bright line to be found in the commentaries regarding Levenson or Ferry. I am only suggesting that sometimes we are too quick to jump to a conclusion. Which is what Abdul-Jabbar was also saying. We need to be aware of context; we also need to do our job and be fair as we do it.

HK Dukie
09-09-2014, 02:57 AM
http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/08/Gearon_letter.pdf

The letter from the minority owner dated June 12th, requesting Ferry's resignation.

To me personally, the comment referred to in the Ferry letter above is racist while Levenson's comments while not racist were prejudiced and offensive (he probably deserves discipline not losing the team). It appears Ferry was just reading the scouting report, but even reading comments like that to a business is wrong. I know I would get fired from my job if I read a report like this aloud in a meeting with my team if I didn't immediately say that I disagreed with them. I hope there are mitigating circumstances and this letter is embellishing the case against Ferry.

And by the way, there is nothing wrong with Deng's game. He was a steal at $10m a year. Hawks should have gotten him as I think they had $11.5m in cap space remaining.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 05:58 AM
I don't see how you interpret Ferry's comment as merely a reference to Deng's African experience as a youth. I think it's blatantly obvious that what Ferry said was a disparaging critique of Deng as an African and of Africans in general.

I have never been to Africa but I can tell you, without question, the perception is that the corruption abounds. I've talked with numerous missionaries who served
there and contrasted their work in Africa with other third world countries and their biggest frustration with Africa is corruption of the public officials and specifically that they tell you one thing and do another. It's ridiculous to say that the missionaries who told me that are racist. There are numerous novels and memoirs dealing with Africa and the corruption that exists there. This is not a big secret that no one has heard before so spare me the sanctimony.

If someone said "he's likes to have a drink - he's got a little Irish in him" there would be no outrage.

Skitzle
09-09-2014, 06:21 AM
http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/08/Gearon_letter.pdf

The letter from the minority owner dated June 12th, requesting Ferry's resignation.

To me personally, the comment referred to in the Ferry letter above is racist while Levenson's comments while not racist were prejudiced and offensive (he probably deserves discipline not losing the team). It appears Ferry was just reading the scouting report, but even reading comments like that to a business is wrong. I know I would get fired from my job if I read a report like this aloud in a meeting with my team if I didn't immediately say that I disagreed with them. I hope there are mitigating circumstances and this letter is embellishing the case against Ferry.

And by the way, there is nothing wrong with Deng's game. He was a steal at $10m a year. Hawks should have gotten him as I think they had $11.5m in cap space remaining.

1) Ferry was way out of line by not qualifying that statement, or apologizing or being shocked himself. "Sorry about that, I didn't realize how offensive that was while I was reading it. Thats the verbatim from a 3rd party source. CYA on the call or in the meeting dude.

2) Levenson's comments were best summed up by Zach Lowe in the article above. Offensive at best, racist at worst

3) Gearon was looking for a reason to get rid of Ferry. This is clear. "If Ferry's comments were ever made public, and it's a safe bet to say they will someday." Then he LEAKED his own email.

Tough luck for Ferry, but he just lost his job as a GM for life. (I think.)

Reilly
09-09-2014, 06:47 AM
... If someone said "he's likes to have a drink - he's got a little Irish in him" there would be no outrage.

A friend of mine from Duke was the best man at his brother's wedding. The bride had strong Irish roots ("Mc-something"; red hair; Notre Dame). My friend prefaced his toast mentioning having researched various Irish toasts "and boy are there a lot of them ..." He actually caught flak from the bride's uptight sister for that little line: alcoholism is a disease, yada yada (mind you, none of the family there were drunks that I knew of). My friend later appealed to me to attest to his character (I was there; my grandparents had immigrated from Ireland) but I was too lit to be of help.

TampaDuke
09-09-2014, 07:13 AM
I wonder how many more people will claim or insinuate without evidence that Danny Ferry was expressing his own opinions.

According to the AJC (http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/basketball/levenson-to-sell-interest-in-hawks-after-inflammat/nhHfJ/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcst ub1#e9416f18.257061.735483) and many other sources, Ferry was reading a report that contained racist remarks and was not the originator of those remarks.

"According to Koonin, the Hawks held a meeting in early June to discuss free agency. At that meeting, a player was being discussed and Ferry cited a background report that included an “offensive and racist” remark."

But SBN or BR type of sites are omitting that detail in an effort to make the story more sensational.

Not only that, but assuming that is true, the NBA has a bigger issue on its hands as that means an employee of yet another team made the original comments.

HK Dukie
09-09-2014, 07:44 AM
This story has a little bit of the Seinfeld finale in it with respect to Ferry.

Do you confront racist comments or just sit idly by? For the Seinfeld crew they went to jail for doing nothing (nice twist for a "show about nothing"). Ferry was more engaged in making the situation worse by reading the comments, yet it wasn't his beliefs, it wasn't his comments. I am quite curious as to how this whole thing plays out. In general I don't have a problem with people minding their own business but it would probably be better for society if we all spoke out more when we saw something wrong.

http://www.ajc.com/news/sports/basketball/full-statement-from-hawks-gm-danny-ferry/nhJZM/

The link is to Ferry's statement.

subzero02
09-09-2014, 08:11 AM
I have never been to Africa but I can tell you, without question, the perception is that the corruption abounds. I've talked with numerous missionaries who served
there and contrasted their work in Africa with other third world countries and their biggest frustration with Africa is corruption of the public officials and specifically that they tell you one thing and do another. It's ridiculous to say that the missionaries who told me that are racist. There are numerous novels and memoirs dealing with Africa and the corruption that exists there. This is not a big secret that no one has heard before so spare me the sanctimony.

If someone said "he's likes to have a drink - he's got a little Irish in him" there would be no outrage.

So,if you're corrupt you have the attributes of an African, if you're a drinker you have an attribute of the Irish and if you place a negative stereotype on an entire ethnic group you're not making a racist comment. Got it.

77devil
09-09-2014, 09:15 AM
A friend of mine from Duke was the best man at his brother's wedding. The bride had strong Irish roots ("Mc-something"; red hair; Notre Dame). My friend prefaced his toast mentioning having researched various Irish toasts "and boy are there a lot of them ..." He actually caught flak from the bride's uptight sister for that little line: alcoholism is a disease, yada yada (mind you, none of the family there were drunks that I knew of). My friend later appealed to me to attest to his character (I was there; my grandparents had immigrated from Ireland) but I was too lit to be of help.

In today's hyper PC culture, it is pretty hard to open your mouth without offending someone. I echo Jim3K's comment. Furthermore, in my experience those quick to judge and criticize often have an agenda.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 09:45 AM
In today's hyper PC culture, it is pretty hard to open your mouth without offending someone. I echo Jim3K's comment. Furthermore, in my experience those quick to judge and criticize often have an agenda.

I must agree. So many lie in wait to spring the sanctimonious racist trap at first opportunity that any type of constructive dialogue is squelched. Any discussion that doesn't include sufficient self flagellation is doomed to be squashed. For many folks who would like to contribute to reconciliation and improvement in race relations it becomes much easier to just move to the suburbs, mind your business and keep your mouth shut than to actually engage.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 09:57 AM
So,if you're corrupt you have the attributes of an African, if you're a drinker you have an attribute of the Irish and if you place a negative stereotype on an entire ethnic group you're not making a racist comment. Got it.

My very favorite songwriter is Patty Griffin who is of Irish Catholic descent:

"I was drinkin' like the Irish, but I was drinkin Scotch..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyySkPqJy9I

According to your logic, Patty Griffin is a racist. Got it.

Duvall
09-09-2014, 10:05 AM
I must agree. So many lie in wait to spring the sanctimonious racist trap at first opportunity that any type of constructive dialogue is squelched. Any discussion that doesn't include sufficient self flagellation is doomed to be squashed. For many folks who would like to contribute to reconciliation and improvement in race relations it becomes much easier to just move to the suburbs, mind your business and keep your mouth shut than to actually engage.

So there are folks that would like to contribute to racial reconciliation, as long as such reconciliation does not include acknowledging that applying a pernicious stereotype to an entire continent of people could be racially problematic?

That doesn't sound like a serious interest.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 10:19 AM
So there are folks that would like to contribute to racial reconciliation, as long as such reconciliation does not include acknowledging that applying a pernicious stereotype to an entire continent of people could be racially problematic?

That doesn't sound like a serious interest.

I think anything said that isn't cleared through proper PC channels could be racially problematic which is itself a problem. You can't talk about solutions without talking about problems. A car salesmen will tell you there is no sale until the buyer kicks the tires and a realtor will tell you that until a potential buyer start talking about the flaws, they're not serious about buying a home.

The continent of Africa needs a lot of help. Do they only want it from those who find their culture completely blameless? I might be easier and less risky to just stay home and tend to your own business. Freedom requires some toughness to survive. I suggest that folks who really believe in freedom of expression need to toughen up a bit. You cannot be free to express your opinion yet not have the intestinal fortitude to hear another's opinion without resorting to name calling.

OldSchool
09-09-2014, 10:42 AM
Yeah...Ferry is done.

http://www.wsbtv.com/news/news/local/channel-2s-obtains-smoking-gun-controversial-hawks/nhJQw/

From the article:
Ferry...described free agent target Luol Deng “he has a little African in him, not in a bad way, but he's a guy who would have a nice store out front, but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.”

I had no idea. Does anyone on here know Lu well enough to get me a good deal on a knock-off Rolex?

johnb
09-09-2014, 11:03 AM
Wikipedia: Racism consists of both prejudice and discrimination...

So, there should be both prejudice/stereotype and discriminating behavior. It's not just an observation that may or may not be relatively valid for a subculture (Irish do drink quite a lot: http://alcoholireland.ie/facts/how-much-do-we-drink/), but a lot of Irish don't drink at all (my understanding is that Ireland has the highest rate of non-drinking in the EU). The observation without negative behavior doesn't strike me as racist. OTOH, I don't find humor about alcoholism to be funny.


Anyway, I couldn't figure out what it means to be "too African," so I went to the internet.

1. Here's one comment from a chicago fan a few years ago after Luol was said to be "too African" in 2010.
"africans are notoriously skinny and dont have big chest and are overall thin. African americans were inbreed during the slave years and thats why you see people like lebron james who are a lot thicker and stronger than africans. you will never see a lebron james from africa. deng sudanese body is just not strong enough to guard a physical beast like lebron."
http://www.nbadraft.net/forum/luol-deng

that seems potentially worse than anything said by anyone at the NBA (and certainly written in worse English), though I'd argue that it's not racist in that it isn't intended to hurt anyone, but I'm open to argument.


2. The noted African scholar Francis Deng alludes to people from Darfur being too African for Sudan, a country where Arabs and Africans are not happy neighbors.
http://books.google.com/books?id=_W0eUqHb4g4C&pg=PT85&lpg=PT85&dq=deng+%22too+african%22&source=bl&ots=aFaI9flKWX&sig=iCmALXF_hd-fvG9SoURlbe7PnaA&hl=en&sa=X&ei=Fx4PVLqiGcHLgwSLkYLADg&ved=0CEYQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=deng%20%22too%20african%22&f=false

3. As for African characteristics, I've heard lateness, and I've heard corruption, but I don't know how those would apply to Luol.

4. If being "too African" were a sign of real moral failing, I wonder why Luol would have won the NBA's citizenship award: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._Walter_Kennedy_Citizenship_Award
and its sportsmanship award: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NBA_Sportsmanship_Award
In my glance at the roster of the winners of the two awards, no one else seems to have won both awards (not even Grant Hill).

5. Does it mean that he cheats? That would be weird, mostly because they're talking about a player who can hardly "cheat" an NBA team.

6. Maybe it means that he will say one thing to your face (generally a yes) but actually mean "no." This would be an issue during a free agent negotiation. It is something people do in Africa as a matter of course. It's also something they do in plenty of other regions of the world (?most areas outside of the U.S.), but there aren't many situations in which Danny Ferry is likely to be quoted as saying an 8 figure free agent is "too Japanese," a region which boasts a large number of people who also rarely says no to anyone during a business negotiation but who don't boast a lot of NBA-level players. If I were guessing, I'd say this is most likely, especially if you're GM for a team that presumably gets a lot of eventual no's from high profile free agents.

7. Danny Ferry grew up in an affluent white suburb, but he regularly went into DC to play against the best local players on weekends. He played on a predominately African-American high school team, etc etc. I'm not one to throw him under the bus because of one comment whose meaning is not clear. Maybe his employers are happy to jettison him for the PR, but I've always really liked and respected him.

8. As for the owner (who I care less about), he seems to be pointing out a perceived trend in the general pursuit of making more money (black fans make it less likely for white fans to come to the game). This is unsavory but may be true (I haven't given this one any thought until 5 minutes ago, but it could be true). As has been pointed out, I don't have the impression that the owner has done much off anything to go out of his way to hurt African-Americans (or even to discourage their attendance at games). That doesn't make him a saint, but I really doubt that he cares where he gets his money from. Unlike many people in the population, people who become rich enough to buy sports teams tend to look at people and situations from the perspective of amoral (which isn't necessarily immoral) profit, and my hunch is that if he could make more money with an all-black crowd, he'd have been totally fine and would be scheming out ways to discourage white fans from showing up. In his case, I'd guess he is mostly interested in seeing green than anything else.

sagegrouse
09-09-2014, 11:19 AM
A friend of mine from Duke was the best man at his brother's wedding. The bride had strong Irish roots ("Mc-something"; red hair; Notre Dame). My friend prefaced his toast mentioning having researched various Irish toasts "and boy are there a lot of them ..." He actually caught flak from the bride's uptight sister for that little line: alcoholism is a disease, yada yada (mind you, none of the family there were drunks that I knew of). My friend later appealed to me to attest to his character (I was there; my grandparents had immigrated from Ireland) but I was too lit to be of help.

This seems like a ridiculous objection on its face. "Irish pubs" are famous world-wide as places for conviviality. I remember a good one in Taormina, Sicily. Bartenders are either exported from Ireland or recruited locally with some of the famous welcoming attributes. There is even some behavioral science on the features: darts promote social behavior; pinball is antisocial. Now, some Irish-American family is objecting to someone mentioning that "there are a lot of Irish toasts?" What tha'!

Reisen
09-09-2014, 11:28 AM
Maybe I'm just being obtuse, but what does that even mean? "He's got some African in him. And I don't mean that in a bad way."

I assume, since it's part of a scouting report, it has something to do with basketball? Is "African" supposed to be code for something else? And if it's not something negative, what is it?

Just to come back to this, the more recent comments (about selling counterfeit merchandise out of the back of a respectable looking shop) make a lot more sense than the originally reported comment. It sounds to me like someone censored and condensed the comment to protect Ferry.

In terms of the comment, I don't find it racist (it has nothing to do with race), but I can easily see how it is offensive culturally. Similar to stereotypes about certain cultures and alcohol, work ethic, greediness, stealing intellectual property, etc. Certainly, I think it is far more offensive than anything in Levenson's email, which was just a very frank discussion of customer demographics.

So, yeah, we now have heard third hand, via multiple parties with obvious agendas, that Danny Ferry evidently repeated something that was culturally offensive on a conference call. It will be very interesting to see what happens next.

Henderson
09-09-2014, 11:38 AM
Reisen's last paragraph provides a nice summary of where we are. Now this thread feels to me as though it's exhausted itself from a basketball perspective.

Duvall
09-09-2014, 11:44 AM
Now this thread feels to me as though it's exhausted itself from a basketball perspective.

That would be a bizarre approach to a story that seems to be moving quickly.

subzero02
09-09-2014, 12:11 PM
I believe the only reason Ferry retained his job is because he was not the original author of the scouting report. At the very least, he showed a major lapse in judgement and he could still be fired. I'd like to know who the original author was, I'm sure that will come out soon. It'll be interesting to see what else emerges once that individual is identified. I'd also like to know the severity of Ferry's punishment.

77devil
09-09-2014, 01:03 PM
So, yeah, we now have heard third hand, via multiple parties with obvious agendas, that Danny Ferry evidently repeated something that was culturally offensive on a conference call. It will be very interesting to see what happens next.

Well it's first hand now that Ferry has issued a public statement. Nevertheless, a GM should be smarter, or at least know better, than to read such comments verbatim in a conference call even if they were written by others.

Des Esseintes
09-09-2014, 02:19 PM
My very favorite songwriter is Patty Griffin who is of Irish Catholic descent:

"I was drinkin' like the Irish, but I was drinkin Scotch..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyySkPqJy9I

According to your logic, Patty Griffin is a racist. Got it.

No, that's not at all what it is like. It's like if Luol Deng was Irish, and Danny Ferry said, "On the negative side, he's Irish. The Irish, owing to their lamentable idol-worshipping Catholicism and general dimwittedness, are problem drinkers, so we should be wary of hiring him because he may be a an incompetent alcoholic." That's what it would be like, if you were also operating under the assumption that America's despicable history when it comes to views of people from Africa was even in the same zip code as past prejudice against people of Irish descent.

johnb
09-09-2014, 02:26 PM
No, that's not at all what it is like. It's like if Luol Deng was Irish, and Danny Ferry said, "On the negative side, he's Irish. The Irish, owing to their lamentable idol-worshipping Catholicism and general dimwittedness, are problem drinkers, so we should be wary of hiring him because he may be a an incompetent alcoholic." That's what it would be like, if you were also operating under the assumption that America's despicable history when it comes to views of people from Africa was even in the same zip code as past prejudice against people of Irish descent.

My post, above, may have been off base and/or too long.

To abbreviate:
We don't know what "too African" means. Luol Deng is one of the most respected players in the league. It'd be weird to call him a cheater. In the context of FA negotiations, I could much more easily imagine it means "he says yes when he means no."

Alternatively, Ferry was simply repeating everything that was being said by insiders in written reports.

He's going to apologize--that is the modern thing to do--but I still can't figure out his original intent (i.e., what is he apologizing for, exactly?).

Des Esseintes
09-09-2014, 02:35 PM
My post, above, may have been off base and/or too long.

To abbreviate:
We don't know what "too African" means. Luol Deng is one of the most respected players in the league. It'd be weird to call him a cheater. In the context of FA negotiations, I could much more easily imagine it means "he says yes when he means no."

Alternatively, Ferry was simply repeating everything that was being said by insiders in written reports.

He's going to apologize--that is the modern thing to do--but I still can't figure out his original intent (i.e., what is he apologizing for, exactly?).
I agree that his intent is obscure. But he said that he meant African in the sense of a guy operating a nice storefront while selling counterfeit goods in back. Whether he meant that as a positive thing about Deng, I have no idea. I mean, maybe, but man it's weird. I think we can all safely assume, however, it's not a great thing to say about everyone from the continent of Africa.

AtlDuke72
09-09-2014, 02:44 PM
"besmirched the brand with his followups about black income levels"

Really ? Should a businessman selling a very expensive product ignore the income level of the majority of its customers? I'll bet that would be a novel approach in business school..

lotusland
09-09-2014, 02:53 PM
My very favorite songwriter is Patty Griffin who is of Irish Catholic descent:

"I was drinkin' like the Irish, but I was drinkin Scotch..."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyySkPqJy9I

According to your logic, Patty Griffin is a racist. Got it.


No, that's not at all what it is like. It's like if Luol Deng was Irish, and Danny Ferry said, "On the negative side, he's Irish. The Irish, owing to their lamentable idol-worshipping Catholicism and general dimwittedness, are problem drinkers, so we should be wary of hiring him because he may be a an incompetent alcoholic." That's what it would be like, if you were also operating under the assumption that America's despicable history when it comes to views of people from Africa was even in the same zip code as past prejudice against people of Irish descent.

My post above regarding Patty Griffin was specifically in response to the below post. My point was that speaking in generalizations is something that EVERYONE does and it does not make you a racist. I would be very surprised if Luol has never linked a person's personal trait (or his perception of it) with his/her nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, profession, sexual preference, etc. . Anthropologist study such culture characteristics do they not?

Quote Originally Posted by subzero02 View Post

So,if you're corrupt you have the attributes of an African, if you're a drinker you have an attribute of the Irish and if you place a negative stereotype on an entire
ethnic group you're not making a racist comment. Got it.

OldSchool
09-09-2014, 03:28 PM
Obviously, the comment that Danny read on the conference call was pretty insulting to Lu and of course offensive to boot.

Just guessing, but I'm wondering if that scouting comment didn't originate in the Cleveland organization. Recall that during his short stint there Lu said some rather negative things about the way Cleveland runs things (which compared poorly with the Bulls) which comments found their way into the media and then Lu spurned them when it came time to deciding whether to stay with Cleveland. There may have been some pretty hard feelings in Cleveland about Lu, perhaps someone there felt he had misled them, and perhaps this was that someone's way of trying to get back at him. I would imagine Danny is still pretty close to the Cleveland organization.

Just a guess.

subzero02
09-09-2014, 03:44 PM
It probably came from one of Ferry's San Antonio connections... That franchise has spurned foreign talent for years.

Duvall
09-09-2014, 03:46 PM
Obviously, the comment that Danny read on the conference call was pretty insulting to Lu and of course offensive to boot.

Just guessing, but I'm wondering if that scouting comment didn't originate in the Cleveland organization. Recall that during his short stint there Lu said some rather negative things about the way Cleveland runs things (which compared poorly with the Bulls) which comments found their way into the media and then Lu spurned them when it came time to deciding whether to stay with Cleveland. There may have been some pretty hard feelings in Cleveland about Lu, perhaps someone there felt he had misled them, and perhaps this was that someone's way of trying to get back at him. I would imagine Danny is still pretty close to the Cleveland organization.

Just a guess.

Deng has only played for and negotiated with two franchises before this summer, yes? And *of course* one of them would be Cleveland.

Tom B.
09-09-2014, 04:49 PM
Jason Whitlock (http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11493472/jason-whitlock-bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks) weighs in with an interesting perspective.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 05:13 PM
Jason Whitlock (http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11493472/jason-whitlock-bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks) weighs in with an interesting perspective.

Interesting that his take was that the Ferry's Scouting report comment was directed at black people in general rather than African immigrants. I really think the comment, regardless of where it originated, probably referred to specifically Deng's African heritage not his race but I can't be certain.

Des Esseintes
09-09-2014, 05:15 PM
My post above regarding Patty Griffin was specifically in response to the below post. My point was that speaking in generalizations is something that EVERYONE does and it does not make you a racist. I would be very surprised if Luol has never linked a person's personal trait (or his perception of it) with his/her nationality, ethnicity, race, religion, profession, sexual preference, etc. . Anthropologist study such culture characteristics do they not?

Quote Originally Posted by subzero02 View Post

So,if you're corrupt you have the attributes of an African, if you're a drinker you have an attribute of the Irish and if you place a negative stereotype on an entire
ethnic group you're not making a racist comment. Got it.

Look, Patty Griffin is Irish. She can say stuff about the Irish. But if Patty Griffin was *not* Irish, and she was the GM of an NBA team, and she was using someone's Irish descent to determine whether they should be hired--well, Patty Griffin would then be a racist. That's, like, the definition of racism.

In any case, I'd be excited to see this fascinating cultural anthropology monograph on how Africans run nice storefronts and then turn around and sell hot merchandise out of the back. I bet that's a super-well-researched and rigorous monograph.

Can I also add that Danny Ferry shouldn't get much of a pass for reading someone else's words, if in fact they were not his own. Because it would pretty straightforward for him to read aloud that quote and then immediately follow it with: "Whoa, guys, that's--that's pretty out there, that scouting report. Just so we're clear, I do not think Luol Deng should be compared to a corrupt small business owner just because he is from the Sudan. That would be preposterously, almost comically racist, and I definitely do not think that." Yet he apparently did no such thing. Perhaps he thought he would look incompetent for not having read the scouting reports ahead of time? Incompetence isn't much of a defense.

Duvall
09-09-2014, 05:38 PM
Look, Patty Griffin is Irish. She can say stuff about the Irish. But if Patty Griffin was *not* Irish, and she was the GM of an NBA team, and she was using someone's Irish descent to determine whether they should be hired--well, Patty Griffin would then be a racist. That's, like, the definition of racism.


Yeah, it's hard to believe that we are debating whether a claim that is essentially that "Africans are bad people that we should not employ" is bigotry or cultural analysis, but here we are.

Des Esseintes
09-09-2014, 05:57 PM
Luol Deng, talking about Africans (http://fansided.com/2014/09/09/luol-deng-issues-statement-atlanta-hawks-danny-ferry/).


“HE HAS A LITTLE AFRICAN IN HIM”

These words were recently used to describe me. It would ordinarily make any African parent proud to hear their child recognized for their heritage.

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.

Concerning my free agency, the focus should purely have been on my professionalism and my ability as an athlete. Every person should have the right to be treated with respect and evaluated as an individual, rather than be reduced to a stereotype. I am saddened and disappointed that this way of thinking still exists today. I am even more disturbed that it was shared so freely in a business setting.

However, there is comfort in knowing that there are people who aren’t comfortable with it and have the courage to speak up. In the same way a generalization should not define a group of people, the attitude of a few should not define a whole organization or league.

Ultimately, I’m thankful to be with an organization that appreciates me for who I am and has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome.

OldSchool
09-09-2014, 06:06 PM
Luol:


Ultimately, I’m thankful to be with an organization that appreciates me for who I am and has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome.

I'm reading this as a veiled shot at Cleveland, since he was never at Atlanta to feel welcomed or not, and pointing to Cleveland as the source of the insulting scouting remark. (which does not let Ferry off the hook for repeating it)

But can anyone really imagine people at Cleveland getting all hothead and lobbing nasty insults at a player who decided to leave them to go elsewhere? Must be some other explanation.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 06:30 PM
Look, Patty Griffin is Irish. She can say stuff about the Irish. But if Patty Griffin was *not* Irish, and she was the GM of an NBA team, and she was using someone's Irish descent to determine whether they should be hired--well, Patty Griffin would then be a racist. That's, like, the definition of racism.

In any case, I'd be excited to see this fascinating cultural anthropology monograph on how Africans run nice storefronts and then turn around and sell hot merchandise out of the back. I bet that's a super-well-researched and rigorous monograph.

Can I also add that Danny Ferry shouldn't get much of a pass for reading someone else's words, if in fact they were not his own. Because it would pretty straightforward for him to read aloud that quote and then immediately follow it with: "Whoa, guys, that's--that's pretty out there, that scouting report. Just so we're clear, I do not think Luol Deng should be compared to a corrupt small business owner just because he is from the Sudan. That would be preposterously, almost comically racist, and I definitely do not think that." Yet he apparently did no such thing. Perhaps he thought he would look incompetent for not having read the scouting reports ahead of time? Incompetence isn't much of a defense.

Well in this case, the comment was about a perceived personality trait or behavior that was attributed to his African heritage. In other words they don't care a lick that Deng is African apart his perceived behavior.

If an Irish player was thought to drink a lot wouldn't that be appropriate to discuss? If someone else on the call commented that he was Irish in response would that make it worse for the player?

lotusland
09-09-2014, 06:41 PM
Yeah, it's hard to believe that we are debating whether a claim that is essentially that "Africans are bad people that we should not employ" is bigotry or cultural analysis, but here we are.

I don't doubt that is what you and your straw men are debating but not me.

throatybeard
09-09-2014, 07:57 PM
If I'm moving into PPB territory, forgive me. I will try to put this as neutrally as possible. However, the response to Levenson's email seems utterly absurd considering that only a short while ago my beloved Atlanta Braves announced that they were moving the team to Cobb County to be closer to their "core" fan base. It is simply impossible NOT to conclude that serious demographic research (which must include race, as well as class and geography) went into that decision. The language of the organization's justification for the move always troubled me, as the Braves seemed to be blatantly giving up any attempt to appeal to Atlanta as a whole and instead decided to focus on a smaller demographic. Call me crazy, but I'm far, far, far more comfortable with Levenson and other ownership groups having conversations about how to diversify the fan base, even if those conversations are crude and based on stereotypes. I certainly hope that society can rise above simple stereotypes, but it is also important that we confront our biases and figure out ways to overcome them. To me, the Braves' move to Cobb County warrants far more scrutiny than Levenson's email.

To bring this back out of PPB territory, I agree with others who think that there is a good chance that rival owners had no problem giving Levenson a reason to cash out. The whole thing is really strange and, ultimately, no one is really harmed. My hope is that the situation forces the Atlanta area into some serious soul-searching about the social dynamics that still obviously play a large role in the workings of the city.

Aaaand that's why I'm done with the Braves. Despite driving 2300 miles to see the HOF inductions this year.

throatybeard
09-09-2014, 08:18 PM
Well first of all, it's completely impossible to talk about racist emails without "venturing into PPB territory." Either you're gonna talk about it , or you aren't. If the thread has reached 100 posts, I guess the mods decided we are gonna talk about it.

I live in Saint Louis, as you may have gathered, so for current events reasons, I'm all tuckered out. If ya knowwhumsayin. I'm particular weary of people who are considerate about issues of institutional racism being dismissed blithely with the acronym "PC."

But I'm interested in stand-up comics coming up in this thread, and in comics a large portion of whose material involves satirizing their own ethnicity or gender. Esther Ku comes to mind. Ku, if you're familiar with her, has one main bit she absolutely beats to death, which is...how to put this? She repeatedly asserts that men of her own ethnicity are losers for whom she's way too attractive. That's the fulcrum of the bit, and the bit takes different forms, but she really leans on this one bit, like Pablo Francisco does on his Don LaFontaine impression. One man. One joke. One desi-yurrr.

This has raised some censure even in the famously permissive stand-up community, in ways that appear louder to me than, say, discourse on certain Rock bits from Bring the Pain. I wonder if it's because she's a woman, or if there's another factor.

If Ferry was reading the email out loud in "reporting" on it, I see no transgression on his part. I don't want to hear that stuff either, but if it's meta-discucussion, it's not only OK but imperative that we meta-discuss it. It's the only way forward. Ignoring this stuff gets us nowhere.

Amusingly to probably no one but me, when I just went to Wiki to verify the spelling of Ku's name (couldn't remember if there was an h in Esther), the Wiki article of the day is Hurricane Esther.

Duvall
09-09-2014, 08:29 PM
I don't doubt that is what you and your straw men are debating but not me.

Try re-reading your posts in this thread, and think about how they would sound to someone other than yourself.

lotusland
09-09-2014, 09:11 PM
I know what I posted and don't believe it should be offensive to anyone however at this point I have nothing more to add.

sagegrouse
09-09-2014, 09:21 PM
Well in this case, the comment was about a perceived personality trait or behavior that was attributed to his African heritage. In other words they don't care a lick that Deng is African apart his perceived behavior.

If an Irish player was thought to drink a lot wouldn't that be appropriate to discuss? If someone else on the call commented that he was Irish in response would that make it worse for the player?

Uhhh, Lotusland, far be it from me to step into the middle of a mud fight, but you'd get a lot of grief in Sensitivity Training 101 for these two comments.

Kindly, Sage

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-10-2014, 05:52 AM
I know what I posted and don't believe it should be offensive to anyone however at this point I have nothing more to add.

Precisely to your point, whether or not you believe it SHOULD be offensive is wholly irrelevant.

Dan Snyder doesn't think the Redskins name ought to offend anyone either, and he is fighting an uphill, losing battle in trying to explain to people why he believes they shouldn't be.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-10-2014, 05:56 AM
Luol Deng, talking about Africans (http://fansided.com/2014/09/09/luol-deng-issues-statement-atlanta-hawks-danny-ferry/).

Extremely classy response by Deng. I am sorry to see him at the center of such strangeness, but impressed by how he has taken the high road.

kkwst2
09-10-2014, 09:55 AM
Extremely classy response by Deng. I am sorry to see him at the center of such strangeness, but impressed by how he has taken the high road.

I love Luol and he is certainly among the smartest, most thoughtful people in the NBA. And his family's story (and country's for that matter) is both tragic and inspirational.

However, I disagree that he took the high road. He essentially called out Ferry. The high road would have been to say "Look, I understand he was just reading someone else's words. It was insensitive to read, and disappointing to know that there are scouts out there with such views, but it doesn't mean Danny is a racist. We've talked, cleared the air, and moved on. So should you."

It is incredible to me that so many people are suggesting Ferry is a racist for reading someone else's words. And Deng didn't do anything to dissuade that thinking. I look to Kareem's Time piece as taking the high road, though about a slightly different part of this mess.

It seems pretty clear to me that this Micheal Gearon, Jr. was using this as a political power play to try to remove people in the organization he doesn't like or agree with. Either he wasn't paying enough attention during the call to realize that Ferry's words weren't his own, or (more likely) intentionally misrepresented the situation to his own end.

freshmanjs
09-10-2014, 10:08 AM
I love Luol and he is certainly among the smartest, most thoughtful people in the NBA. And his family's story (and country's for that matter) is both tragic and inspirational.

However, I disagree that he took the high road. He essentially called out Ferry. The high road would have been to say "Look, I understand he was just reading someone else's words. It was insensitive to read, and disappointing to know that there are scouts out there with such views, but it doesn't mean Danny is a racist. We've talked, cleared the air, and moved on. So should you."

It is incredible to me that so many people are suggesting Ferry is a racist for reading someone else's words. And Deng didn't do anything to dissuade that thinking. I look to Kareem's Time piece as taking the high road, though about a slightly different part of this mess.

It seems pretty clear to me that this Micheal Gearon, Jr. was using this as a political power play to try to remove people in the organization he doesn't like or agree with. Either he wasn't paying enough attention during the call to realize that Ferry's words weren't his own, or (more likely) intentionally misrepresented the situation to his own end.

why is it ok to repeat someone else's racist comments?

BigWil06
09-10-2014, 10:52 AM
I love Luol and he is certainly among the smartest, most thoughtful people in the NBA. And his family's story (and country's for that matter) is both tragic and inspirational.

However, I disagree that he took the high road. He essentially called out Ferry. The high road would have been to say "Look, I understand he was just reading someone else's words. It was insensitive to read, and disappointing to know that there are scouts out there with such views, but it doesn't mean Danny is a racist. We've talked, cleared the air, and moved on. So should you."

It is incredible to me that so many people are suggesting Ferry is a racist for reading someone else's words. And Deng didn't do anything to dissuade that thinking. I look to Kareem's Time piece as taking the high road, though about a slightly different part of this mess.

It seems pretty clear to me that this Micheal Gearon, Jr. was using this as a political power play to try to remove people in the organization he doesn't like or agree with. Either he wasn't paying enough attention during the call to realize that Ferry's words weren't his own, or (more likely) intentionally misrepresented the situation to his own end.

I don't think Luol needed to bail Ferry out on this. In Ferry's statement he apologized to Luol but he didn't actually come to his defense with something like "hey, Luol is a great guy I know him via my NBA and Duke connects, this isn't him, blah, blah, blah" so I don't think Luol needed to come to Ferry's defense. The reality is there's probably a reason why he didn't come to his defense.

We weren't on the scouting call, and we didn't hear the convo btwn Ferry and Luol so saying Luol didn't take the high road is a little premature in my opinion. I doubt it's as bad as the other Hawks owner is making it sound and probably not as innocent as Ferry reading somebody else's comment and not thinking to admonish it. As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

kkwst2
09-10-2014, 10:55 AM
why is it ok to repeat someone else's racist comments?

Seriously?

Perhaps because it is your job to disseminate the information provided to you? One could argue that it SHOULD be done in an unfiltered fashion. Are we to filter it and pretend our scouts aren't writing offensive things?

Maybe Ferry could have followed it up with "Well, that was offensive and inappropriate" but he's in a meeting with his business associates about making operations decisions. It wasn't like he was addressing the public.

freshmanjs
09-10-2014, 10:57 AM
Seriously?

Perhaps because it is your job to disseminate the information provided to you? One could argue that it SHOULD be done in an unfiltered fashion. Are we to filter it and pretend our scouts aren't writing offensive things?

Maybe Ferry could have followed it up with "Well, that was offensive and inappropriate" but he's in a meeting with his business associates about making operations decisions. It wasn't like he was addressing the public.

if his job is to be an automaton and read scouting reports aloud verbatim, then he's way overpaid.

kkwst2
09-10-2014, 11:02 AM
I don't think Luol needed to bail Ferry out on this. In Ferry's statement he apologized to Luol but he didn't actually come to his defense with something like "hey, Luol is a great guy I know him via my NBA and Duke connects, this isn't him, blah, blah, blah" so I don't think Luol needed to come to Ferry's defense. The reality is there's probably a reason why he didn't come to his defense.

We weren't on the scouting call, and we didn't hear the convo btwn Ferry and Luol so saying Luol didn't take the high road is a little premature in my opinion. I doubt it's as bad as the other Hawks owner is making it sound and probably not as innocent as Ferry reading somebody else's comment and not thinking to admonish it. As is usually the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle.

That's fair, but I would say that it isn't clear he did take the high road either. There's obviously a lot of speculation here as none of us have insight into the whole context. Ferry may be a racist for all I know. I just don't think there's anything here that really suggests that he is and it is amazing to me how (as best I can tell) his reading of some comments can draw such ire to a guy with an otherwise excellent reputation. I feel we have become so sensitive and reactionary.

Duvall
09-10-2014, 11:04 AM
Seriously?

Perhaps because it is your job to disseminate the information provided to you? One could argue that it SHOULD be done in an unfiltered fashion. Are we to filter it and pretend our scouts aren't writing offensive things?

Maybe Ferry could have followed it up with "Well, that was offensive and inappropriate" but he's in a meeting with his business associates about making operations decisions. It wasn't like he was addressing the public.

Come on. Ferry is the General Manager, not an intern. It's also his job to determine what information is worth disseminating, and if the reports are accurate, he failed.

arnie
09-10-2014, 11:16 AM
Come on. Ferry is the General Manager, not an intern. It's also his job to determine what information is worth disseminating, and if the reports are accurate, he failed.

I can sort of understand both sides of this issue, so call me wishy-washy today. For those that think Ferry's actions are horrific and he should be removed as GM, do you think his jersey should be removed from the Cameron rafters? If this story gets worse i bet there will pressure by some to unretire #35.

kkwst2
09-10-2014, 11:17 AM
Come on. Ferry is the General Manager, not an intern. It's also his job to determine what information is worth disseminating, and if the reports are accurate, he failed.

Perhaps your experience with how things are done in a hiring/review process are much different than mine. When we are going through potential candidates our chief will often read individual reviews aloud during the meeting. There is no filtering or screening done. Granted we usually don't write offensive things about our candidates, but a lot of it is certainly pretty useless. There is simply not time to go though everything and pre-filter it. Maybe the NBA is different but I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot more time than my chief to go through stuff and filter it out before a meeting.

I don't even understand the comments that Ferry read, but I guess he's bringing up a concern over his character or interactions with other people? If that is the case, why is it not worth at least reading to the group. If you're paying a guy to scout and provide information, either use it or fire them if they are providing worthless or offensive data.

Pernell
09-10-2014, 12:02 PM
Come on. Ferry is the General Manager, not an intern. It's also his job to determine what information is worth disseminating, and if the reports are accurate, he failed.

Well, exactly. Ferry is the GM and the scouting report was written by someone, I assume, junior to his GM position. There is no logical basketball reason why he should include that in his telephone remarks with other executives. He should have enough sense to know that the remarks were inflammatory and should not be repeated. Additionally, I would hope that he would critique the scout and ask him why he thought it was necessary to include those remarks.

Des Esseintes
09-10-2014, 12:48 PM
Perhaps your experience with how things are done in a hiring/review process are much different than mine. When we are going through potential candidates our chief will often read individual reviews aloud during the meeting. There is no filtering or screening done. Granted we usually don't write offensive things about our candidates, but a lot of it is certainly pretty useless. There is simply not time to go though everything and pre-filter it. Maybe the NBA is different but I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot more time than my chief to go through stuff and filter it out before a meeting.

I don't even understand the comments that Ferry read, but I guess he's bringing up a concern over his character or interactions with other people? If that is the case, why is it not worth at least reading to the group. If you're paying a guy to scout and provide information, either use it or fire them if they are providing worthless or offensive data.

Yeah, maybe you have a different hiring/review process than some. In my experience with various work environments, you can't really do things like discuss whether a particular person's behavior fits a racial or ethnic stereotype when considering hiring that person. In fact--and this is totally unfun, btw--you can't really discuss whether that person fits a racial or ethnic stereotype AT ALL. I guess I work with a lot of rules mavens or something! But then my various work environments have also been low on employee discrimination lawsuits, so maybe there are advantages to proceeding this way? I dunno.

Papa John
09-10-2014, 12:48 PM
Maybe Ferry could have followed it up with "Well, that was offensive and inappropriate" but he's in a meeting with his business associates about making operations decisions. It wasn't like he was addressing the public.

This is the problem with the whole Ferry situation, of course—none of us actually knows exactly what transpired during the conversation. It's possible that Ferry did follow up with a comment to the effect that you cite above. It's also possible that he simply read the scout's comments verbatim without adding anything. We don't know, because none of us were privy to the conversation in which this all took place.

Of course, according to Gearon's letter, there is a rather simple way to unravel all this, because he indicates that he and a colleague recorded the entire conversation. So, all he would need to do is release the recording, and Ferry could release the hard copy of the scouting report from which he was reading. Then we would know: (1) what was written by the scout, and whether Ferry quoted it verbatim or not, and (2) the surrounding context of the conversation, and whether Ferry (or anyone else on the call) shared any additional comments or reactions to what had just been read.

In other words, we would quickly know whether Ferry made the mistake that the media and many here are accusing him of or if Gearon is embellishing the truth in some attempt at a power play within the ownership ranks of the Hawks.

freshmanjs
09-10-2014, 12:51 PM
This is the problem with the whole Ferry situation, of course—none of us actually knows exactly what transpired during the conversation. It's possible that Ferry did follow up with a comment to the effect that you cite above. It's also possible that he simply read the scout's comments verbatim without adding anything. We don't know, because none of us were privy to the conversation in which this all took place.


don't you think if Ferry had said "wow those are some inappropriate and offensive comments" at the time, that he would have mentioned that now in his statement?

sagegrouse
09-10-2014, 12:59 PM
Perhaps your experience with how things are done in a hiring/review process are much different than mine. When we are going through potential candidates our chief will often read individual reviews aloud during the meeting. There is no filtering or screening done. Granted we usually don't write offensive things about our candidates, but a lot of it is certainly pretty useless. There is simply not time to go though everything and pre-filter it. Maybe the NBA is different but I'm guessing he doesn't have a lot more time than my chief to go through stuff and filter it out before a meeting.

I don't even understand the comments that Ferry read, but I guess he's bringing up a concern over his character or interactions with other people? If that is the case, why is it not worth at least reading to the group. If you're paying a guy to scout and provide information, either use it or fire them if they are providing worthless or offensive data.

There have been some odd posts here. If I were CEO of your company, and there was a reference that said verbatim what the scouting report on Deng said, not only would I bury it by not reading it aloud, but I wd also sever all relations with scout, and do it in a way that it was well known inside the co. And I wd have HR write up a report for the file to be available if there was a later complaint. I wd also do a MFR on my actions. To do any less wd put the shareholders and employees at risk. Pusillanimous, you might sat, but no, it's just business and it's about showing respect for all groups inside and outside the company.

Now, if this was a report recd from Cleveland mgmt, I wouldn't read it at a mtg but say, "He burnt some bridges at Cleveland, and mgmt thought he wasn't straight with them."

throatybeard
09-10-2014, 01:05 PM
I can sort of understand both sides of this issue, so call me wishy-washy today. For those that think Ferry's actions are horrific and he should be removed as GM, do you think his jersey should be removed from the Cameron rafters? If this story gets worse i bet there will pressure by some to unretire #35.

Well, we are running low on jersey numbers under 50.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-10-2014, 01:05 PM
That's fair, but I would say that it isn't clear he did take the high road either. There's obviously a lot of speculation here as none of us have insight into the whole context. Ferry may be a racist for all I know. I just don't think there's anything here that really suggests that he is and it is amazing to me how (as best I can tell) his reading of some comments can draw such ire to a guy with an otherwise excellent reputation. I feel we have become so sensitive and reactionary.

I would argue that Deng has no reason whatsoever to exonerate Ferry - he likely knows less about Ferry than those of us who have followed his career for 30 years.

I would say that given his situation, he released an intelligent and eloquent statement that rose above the fray. I consider that the high road.

Owen Meany
09-10-2014, 02:17 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/an-exclusive-look-at-hawks-gm-danny-ferry-s-fateful-phone-call-180253404.html

among the tidbits

One of the owners on the line in June, Michael Gearon Jr., had once been a far greater power player within the franchise. No more. Levenson and Ferry had neutralized him, and Gearon's days of input into basketball decisions had been long gone. He disdained Ferry, and told people often inside and outside the organization: He longed for Ferry's ouster as GM.

Around the discussions between the Hawks and Deng, several sources told Yahoo that within the basketball operations, Ferry was Atlanta's biggest proponent to sign Deng.

There are no heroes here, no winners – not even Michael Gearon, with whom the league office is livid. He had been hellbent on bringing down the power structure in Atlanta, including the GM, and yet perhaps history will remember this as the biggest irony of all: Danny Ferry did it to himself


The author seems to think it sounds as if Ferry was speaking himself. Its not a pleasant situation. But I certainly will not take Gearon's side of the story at face value.

Billy Dat
09-10-2014, 02:29 PM
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/an-exclusive-look-at-hawks-gm-danny-ferry-s-fateful-phone-call-180253404.html

among the tidbits

One of the owners on the line in June, Michael Gearon Jr., had once been a far greater power player within the franchise. No more. Levenson and Ferry had neutralized him, and Gearon's days of input into basketball decisions had been long gone. He disdained Ferry, and told people often inside and outside the organization: He longed for Ferry's ouster as GM.

Around the discussions between the Hawks and Deng, several sources told Yahoo that within the basketball operations, Ferry was Atlanta's biggest proponent to sign Deng.

There are no heroes here, no winners – not even Michael Gearon, with whom the league office is livid. He had been hellbent on bringing down the power structure in Atlanta, including the GM, and yet perhaps history will remember this as the biggest irony of all: Danny Ferry did it to himself


The author seems to think it sounds as if Ferry was speaking himself. Its not a pleasant situation. But I certainly will not take Gearon's side of the story at face value.

Looks like Woj was referencing a transcript of the call, not the call itself. This could be the age old 3 sides to every story...yours, mine and the truth. Despite the punishment that has been meted out to Ferry, this doesn't feel like it over.

Bluegrassdevil1
09-10-2014, 02:43 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?

Karl Beem
09-10-2014, 03:01 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?


:( This thread needs to be closed.

Owen Meany
09-10-2014, 03:05 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?

I don't think it has been established exactly what Ferry said, if it was a quote from someone else, etc. For example, the original article said Ferry called Deng a two faced liar. From this article, it seems that was Gearon's description of Ferry's comments. If he was referring to the comments about Deng denying being a press source then it seems Gearon wildly exaggerated Ferry's comments. I need more proof before I accept the word of a man who " had been hellbent on bringing down the power structure in Atlanta." I'm not sure Gearon is credible here, especially considering his complete lack of concern over the original email that instigated this situation.

I think Ferry's past has earned him the benefit of the doubt here. His professional life and personal reputation are on the line here. Everything will come out, and you can demand jersey's came down, etc. later. But maybe, just maybe, there should be some proof first. After the Lax scandal I would think Duke fans of all people would realize things aren't always as they seem.

throatybeard
09-10-2014, 03:28 PM
:( This thread needs to be closed.

No, it doesn't. We need to have these conversations. They're important to have if we're ever going to move forward.

Duvall
09-10-2014, 03:36 PM
No, it doesn't. We need to have these conversations. They're important to have if we're ever going to move forward.

Especially since this is a prominent story that would be dominating the sports headlines if the NFL weren't dealing a much uglier one.

Reisen
09-10-2014, 04:15 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?

100% agree. Further, we need to follow the Hawks' lead, and conduct a thorough investigation of everyone involved with the Duke basketball program, both past and present. I'm talking Coach K to Andy Borman. Tom Butters to Jay Heaps. If someone has ever made an offensive comment, we need to know about it. Offensive to a race, sex, religion, culture, age, sexual orientation, nationality, it doesn't matter. When we find something, we need to sever any and all connection to the university.

Certainly, the first person to be fired will have to be Coach K. I mean, he has admitted to offending many, many people with his Polish jokes.

JJ Redick? Allegedly used racial slurs in emails about his ex-girlfriend.

Elton Brand? Heck, he wrote an email unfairly grouping together and trashing the entire Duke alumni base (or is it ok to offend someone as long as they're rich & white?).

Shelden Williams, Lance Thomas, Christian Laettner, and Corey Maggette? Well, I'm sure there are plenty of people for each that don't feel they are exactly the best role models. Let's not even get into Quinn Snyder.

Shall I keep going?

Once we're done ridding the Duke basketball program of anyone who's imperfect, why not continue on to the University itself, from the students, to the facult, to the employees, to the alumni? I mean, people have already suggested we kick out Belle Knox. A few years back, it was clear we should sever ties with an entire class of lacrosse players.

Once we're done with the "Great Purge", the 6 people left can all get together and proudly wear their Duke blue, knowing everyone affiliated with the University is perfect. They can sleep soundly at night without needing to worry about the great shame of someone's name in the rafters who made a mistake.

And the lack of jersey #'s under 50? Problem solved!

Des Esseintes
09-10-2014, 04:23 PM
I don't think it has been established exactly what Ferry said, if it was a quote from someone else, etc. For example, the original article said Ferry called Deng a two faced liar. From this article, it seems that was Gearon's description of Ferry's comments. If he was referring to the comments about Deng denying being a press source then it seems Gearon wildly exaggerated Ferry's comments. I need more proof before I accept the word of a man who " had been hellbent on bringing down the power structure in Atlanta." I'm not sure Gearon is credible here, especially considering his complete lack of concern over the original email that instigated this situation.

I think Ferry's past has earned him the benefit of the doubt here. His professional life and personal reputation are on the line here. Everything will come out, and you can demand jersey's came down, etc. later. But maybe, just maybe, there should be some proof first. After the Lax scandal I would think Duke fans of all people would realize things aren't always as they seem.

I'm unsure of Gearon's credibility either. But you were the one who posted the Woj article. Does a call transcript not qualify as "some proof"? While not dispositive proof of Ferry's intent or the origin of the language, the transcript allows us to assume he said these words. Further, Wojnarowski believes the transcript carries the impression that the words are Ferry's own. Again, not dispositive proof, but we are setting an unrealistic burden on evidence if we cannot at least conclude Ferry engaged in some bewilderingly foolish and insensitive misjudgment.

tbyers11
09-10-2014, 04:24 PM
Especially since this is a prominent story that would be dominating the sports headlines if the NFL weren't dealing a much uglier one.

You are probably correct here, but to me it is a little sad that is the case.

People are making comparisons to Donald Sterling because of the proximity of the 2 cases. However as Kareem pointed out in his Time article, Bruce Levenson is no Donald Sterling. From what I have read Danny Ferry is no Donald Sterling either. Focusing on Ferry as this is a Duke board, we don't know the context of the remark he made about Deng. This came to light via an e-mail from co-owner Michael Gearon, Jr. who has wanted to have Ferry fired well before this incident which lends to some questions about his motives. However, everyone seems to agree that he was reading a report about Deng authored by someone else. He should have shown the foresight to edit the comment before hand or qualify it immediately afterward. If he didn't there should be some punishment or discipline for this lack of judgement. The extent of the discipline should be decided by the people who have the context (the other members of the management). CEO Steve Koonin has done this.


Koonin said Atlanta law firm Alston and Bird went through 24,000 documents, conducted 19 interviews and read "every email Danny Ferry has ever sent as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks." Koonin said no other negative information on Ferry was found in the probe.

The extent of the discipline hasn't been made public but I agree with Koonin that dismissal of Ferry does not seem necessary. To me, Ferry is caught up in a power struggle between the owners of the Hawks. Gearon has an axe to grind with Ferry and the other owners. Levenson wants to get out and seems to have branded himself as a racist as a means of doing so. Ferry shouldn't get off scot-free, but his dismissal and the removal of his jersey from the Cameron rafters seem like poorly thought knee-jerk reactions. His "punishment" should be to lead frank discussions with Hawks management and city and county officials about how to culturally integrate the Hawks business plan and game day experience. People of all races enjoying themselves at a Hawks game is a much better solution than packing the team up and moving to Cobb or Gwinnett.

tbyers11
09-10-2014, 04:29 PM
100% agree. Further, we need to follow the Hawks' lead, and conduct a thorough investigation of everyone involved with the Duke basketball program, both past and present. I'm talking Coach K to Andy Borman. Tom Butters to Jay Heaps. If someone has ever made an offensive comment, we need to know about it. Offensive to a race, sex, religion, culture, age, sexual orientation, nationality, it doesn't matter. When we find something, we need to sever any and all connection to the university.

Certainly, the first person to be fired will have to be Coach K. I mean, he has admitted to offending many, many people with his Polish jokes.

JJ Redick? Allegedly used racial slurs in emails about his ex-girlfriend.

Elton Brand? Heck, he wrote an email unfairly grouping together and trashing the entire Duke alumni base (or is it ok to offend someone as long as they're rich & white?).

Shelden Williams, Lance Thomas, Christian Laettner, and Corey Maggette? Well, I'm sure there are plenty of people for each that don't feel they are exactly the best role models. Let's not even get into Quinn Snyder.

Shall I keep going?

Once we're done ridding the Duke basketball program of anyone who's imperfect, why not continue on to the University itself, from the students, to the facult, to the employees, to the alumni? I mean, people have already suggested we kick out Belle Knox. A few years back, it was clear we should sever ties with an entire class of lacrosse players.

Once we're done with the "Great Purge", the 6 people left can all get together and proudly wear their Duke blue, knowing everyone affiliated with the University is perfect. They can sleep soundly at night without needing to worry about the great shame of someone's name in the rafters who made a mistake.

And the lack of jersey #'s under 50? Problem solved!

Heck, even Grant Hill, the embodiment of all that is good and great, used to serve the beer at keg parties. I bet at least someone he served was underage :p. I think saw Shane Battier pick his nose walking through the quad once, too.

Atlanta Duke
09-10-2014, 04:31 PM
People of all races enjoying themselves at a Hawks game is a much better solution than packing the team up and moving to Cobb or Gwinnett.

I think Cobb has pretty much emptied the coffers after the Braves giveaway.

Hawks are not going anywhere other than through more turmoil. Jeff Schulz of the AJC sums it up as follows:

Overcoming this ugly mess won’t be easy for the Hawks. It seems like they’re always trying to overcome an ugly mess.

http://jeffschultz.blog.ajc.com/2014/09/09/hawks-ferry-cant-survive-this-needs-to-go/

tendev
09-10-2014, 04:31 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?

Do you sit there at your computer and wait for people to take the bait?

SoCalDukeFan
09-10-2014, 04:34 PM
While evidently Ferry was reading what others wrote, if they used the N word would Ferry have repeated it>

I would not hang Ferry over this or remove his jersey etc. but then again he did use poor judgement if nothing else.

SoCal

WakeDevil
09-10-2014, 05:54 PM
Not only should Ferry's "35" be removed from the Cameron rafters, no other Blue Devil should ever wear that number again. No one associated with the basketball program, or the university entire, should be associated with Ferry or his repulsive comments, in any form or fashion.

What alternate reality has the world shifted into this week when the UK basketball program is connected to a positive GM experience, while the Duke program is connected to the vile comments of an NBA GM that makes me ashamed to have ever cheered for Ferry?

Jason Whitlock wrote this column for you and your likeminded friends.

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11493472/jason-whitlock-bruce-levenson-atlanta-hawks

Let's start here: Based on his controversial, allegedly racially insensitive internal email, Atlanta Hawks co-owner Bruce Levenson has far more in common with the writer of this column than disgraced Clippers owner Donald Sterling. ...

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote a terrific piece for Time that defended Levenson. I'd like to add my voice. Levenson's email sounded very much like conversations I led with my radio staff in Kansas City years ago when I was trying to make my show more inclusive of white listeners and callers. As the lone black host at two different all-sports stations, black callers and listeners dominated my show. Black advertisers did not. The show was financially supported primarily by white businesses, and the largest demographic for listener growth was white males.

We had the task of maintaining a show that remained relevant with black listeners while being inclusive of white people. At my direction, we made a concerted effort to cultivate white males as regular callers to the show. When it came to on-air contests, radio remotes and special events, we made a special effort to be inclusive of white men. As someone who has an affinity and passion for discussing racial and cultural issues, I made it a point to only discuss those issues when they really mattered and not turn the shows into Malcolm X Unplugged. The music we played going in and out of commercial breaks was closely monitored and was intentionally peppered with the rock music I enjoy (a lot of Bon Jovi). We made it a point to use the contacts/sources I established as a newspaper sports columnist to invite a diverse group of expert guests.
`

lotusland
09-10-2014, 06:22 PM
100% agree. Further, we need to follow the Hawks' lead, and conduct a thorough investigation of everyone involved with the Duke basketball program, both past and present. I'm talking Coach K to Andy Borman. Tom Butters to Jay Heaps. If someone has ever made an offensive comment, we need to know about it. Offensive to a race, sex, religion, culture, age, sexual orientation, nationality, it doesn't matter. When we find something, we need to sever any and all connection to the university.

Certainly, the first person to be fired will have to be Coach K. I mean, he has admitted to offending many, many people with his Polish jokes.

JJ Redick? Allegedly used racial slurs in emails about his ex-girlfriend.

Elton Brand? Heck, he wrote an email unfairly grouping together and trashing the entire Duke alumni base (or is it ok to offend someone as long as they're rich & white?).

Shelden Williams, Lance Thomas, Christian Laettner, and Corey Maggette? Well, I'm sure there are plenty of people for each that don't feel they are exactly the best role models. Let's not even get into Quinn Snyder.

Shall I keep going?

Once we're done ridding the Duke basketball program of anyone who's imperfect, why not continue on to the University itself, from the students, to the facult, to the employees, to the alumni? I mean, people have already suggested we kick out Belle Knox. A few years back, it was clear we should sever ties with an entire class of lacrosse players.

Once we're done with the "Great Purge", the 6 people left can all get together and proudly wear their Duke blue, knowing everyone affiliated with the University is perfect. They can sleep soundly at night without needing to worry about the great shame of someone's name in the rafters who made a mistake.

And the lack of jersey #'s under 50? Problem solved!
I agree completely. If someone chooses to be offended another persons off hand statement they should have the satisfaction of seeing that person removed from their position of authority. Otherwise they might have to start shopping at the big boy pants store.

OldSchool
09-10-2014, 07:19 PM
100% agree. Further, we need to follow the Hawks' lead, and conduct a thorough investigation of everyone involved with the Duke basketball program, both past and present.

...

Shall I keep going?

Why did you stop short of DBR itself? There was a guy on this very thread who made an insensitive joke about Deng selling counterfeit watches.

Des Esseintes
09-10-2014, 07:29 PM
I agree completely. If someone chooses to be offended another persons off hand statement they should have the satisfaction of seeing that person removed from their position of authority. Otherwise they might have to start shopping at the big boy pants store.

I'm sure Luol Deng will greatly appreciate your advice on how to get to the big boy pants store. You have no doubt triumphed over countless challenges in life that will educate him tremendously.

lotusland
09-10-2014, 07:46 PM
I'm sure Luol Deng will greatly appreciate your advice on how to get to the big boy pants store. You have no doubt triumphed over countless challenges in life that will educate him tremendously.

I thought it was all of Africa who was offended. i'm not even sure what the comment actually meant but I'm pretty sure it was intended to point out a fault. i guess they should discuss potential faults more politely so as to not hurt anyone's feelings.

throatybeard
09-10-2014, 08:00 PM
People of all races enjoying themselves at a Hawks game is a much better solution than packing the team up and moving to Cobb or Gwinnett.

I object to this statement. It presupposes that anyone could possibly enjoy themselves at a Hawks game.

No seriously, yes, you're right.

Duvall
09-10-2014, 08:19 PM
I agree completely. If someone chooses to be offended another persons off hand statement they should have the satisfaction of seeing that person removed from their position of authority. Otherwise they might have to start shopping at the big boy pants store.

Well, okay. I am curious - could you explain what kind of actions, if any, a person could find offensive and still qualify for "big boy pants" status, if being troubled by a senior executive making racially charged disparaging comments while discussing whether to offer someone a contract for employment does not qualify?

throatybeard
09-10-2014, 08:26 PM
Okay, I'll stop making jokes. I'm the most progressive dude you know, at least adjusting for being a 6' Caucasian male. That said.

I'm still not sure I see where Ferry is wrong. I have to teach some literature that has the most famous racial epithet you know in it. We talk about what's going on, metacognitively. I may not be fully informed, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Ferry was generating anything racist rather than reporting on racist things he didn't generate.

Am I wrong?

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-10-2014, 09:07 PM
This entire thread is making me ill to my stomach. I find the jokes to be poorly timed, the parallels to other comments and/or scandals to be discomforting, and the language used in the thread to be nearly as awkward as that in the actual controversy itself.

I hold Duke players, past and present, to a high standard of common sense, and I am rarely disappointed. I also hold DBR to a high standard and I am rarely disappointed. Thisnis an unfortunate convergence of the two.

I will relegate myself to more sports-related threads for the foreseeable.

Go Duke!
Go Deng!

JBDuke
09-10-2014, 09:10 PM
Unfortunately, the fact that Ferry was reading from material prepared by someone else is NOT being consistently reported as this story continues to make news. On the way home from work, I was listening to All Things Considered, and they had a report on the incident. They only stated that Ferry made disparaging comments about Deng. Here's the link to the report on npr.org:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/09/10/346901026/-ask-the-white-guy-about-the-hawks

lotusland
09-10-2014, 09:15 PM
Okay, I'll stop making jokes. I'm the most progressive dude you know, at least adjusting for being a 6' Caucasian male. That said.

I'm still not sure I see where Ferry is wrong. I have to teach some literature that has the most famous racial epithet you know in it. We talk about what's going on, metacognitively. I may not be fully informed, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Ferry was generating anything racist rather than reporting on racist things he didn't generate.

Am I wrong?

no you're right. All that happened was that a disgruntled passive aggressive weasel tattled about a frank conversation in a conference call in hopes of sabotaging Ferry and the rival owner. Now he's sitting back enjoying the collective hissy fit he created.

JBDuke
09-10-2014, 09:16 PM
As a reminder, please keep your comments civil. The moderators have chosen to keep this thread open for the time being, despite some of our concerns about the public policy nature of many of the posts. Given the prominent role played by a Duke basketball alum, we think that some relaxation on the public policy prohibition in our guidelines should be allowed for this subject. However, if the dialog continues to deteriorate, we will not hesitate to shut down this thread and issue infractions.

OldSchool
09-10-2014, 09:25 PM
Unfortunately, the fact that Ferry was reading from material prepared by someone else is NOT being consistently reported as this story continues to make news. On the way home from work, I was listening to All Things Considered, and they had a report on the incident. They only stated that Ferry made disparaging comments about Deng. Here's the link to the report on npr.org:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/codeswitch/2014/09/10/346901026/-ask-the-white-guy-about-the-hawks

The guy who actually wrote the offensive language in the scouting report needs to exhibit a sense of honor and come forward publicly and apologize to Deng. In fact, that needed to happen at the very beginning of this thing. As we have often seen with these kinds of situations, when the actual facts are slow to come out, those with axes to grind and a media platform will fill the void will little attention to accuracy.

throatybeard
09-10-2014, 10:10 PM
The guy who actually wrote the offensive language in the scouting report needs to exhibit a sense of honor and come forward publicly and apologize to Deng. In fact, that needed to happen at the very beginning of this thing. As we have often seen with these kinds of situations, when the actual facts are slow to come out, those with axes to grind and a media platform will fill the void will little attention to accuracy.

Exactly--if Ferry was just reporting this to the rest of the club, I don't see how he's culpable. He might have even been enacting justice by bringing it out in the open.

subzero02
09-10-2014, 10:14 PM
The guy who actually wrote the offensive language in the scouting report needs to exhibit a sense of honor and come forward publicly and apologize to Deng. In fact, that needed to happen at the very beginning of this thing. As we have often seen with these kinds of situations, when the actual facts are slow to come out, those with axes to grind and a media platform will fill the void will little attention to accuracy.

The original author of the report is not revealing himself unless it looks like the media is about to out him...

Duvall
09-10-2014, 10:47 PM
Okay, I'll stop making jokes. I'm the most progressive dude you know, at least adjusting for being a 6' Caucasian male. That said.

I'm still not sure I see where Ferry is wrong. I have to teach some literature that has the most famous racial epithet you know in it. We talk about what's going on, metacognitively. I may not be fully informed, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Ferry was generating anything racist rather than reporting on racist things he didn't generate.

Am I wrong?

I think so, yes. According to the reports to date, Ferry wasn't reporting on racist comments that had been made, he was providing an evaluation of Deng to his employers. In doing so, he made a decision to include, or a decision not to exclude, racially charged comments about a player in the team's deliberations. Whether they were his words or the words of another Ferry chose to introduce those comments into the team's decision making. At best, it was a sign of incredibly poor judgment on his part.

WeepingThomasHill
09-10-2014, 10:51 PM
Ferry has become the target of witch hunt led by one of the Hawks owners that had been on a mission for years to get rid of him. I believe that Danny was reading someone else's report, and that he will be vindicated in this matter.

DukieInKansas
09-11-2014, 12:02 AM
From what I have read, Danny Ferry read aloud a scouting report during a meeting that included language that should not have been read. (Actually, the statement in question should never have been written.) This fact was made public via a statement from a possibly disgruntled member of the ownership group that has not cared for Danny Ferry as GM for a while. His statement didn't really discuss what statements Danny Ferry may have made either prior to or after reading the innappropriate scouting report but did indicate that the meeting was recorded. A law firm investigated the incident, including reading thousands of emails written by Danny and found no indication that he was a racist. Do we know if the recording was heard during this invedtigation and if he made any qualifying comments?

More importantly, should he be crucified for one error in judgement in what was a non-public meeting? Doesn't leave much opportunity to learn from his mistake, does it?

Des Esseintes
09-11-2014, 12:33 AM
From what I have read, Danny Ferry read aloud a scouting report during a meeting that included language that should not have been read. (Actually, the statement in question should never have been written.) This fact was made public via a statement from a possibly disgruntled member of the ownership group that has not cared for Danny Ferry as GM for a while. His statement didn't really discuss what statements Danny Ferry may have made either prior to or after reading the innappropriate scouting report but did indicate that the meeting was recorded. A law firm investigated the incident, including reading thousands of emails written by Danny and found no indication that he was a racist. Do we know if the recording was heard during this invedtigation and if he made any qualifying comments?

More importantly, should he be crucified for one error in judgement in what was a non-public meeting? Doesn't leave much opportunity to learn from his mistake, does it?

Unfortunately, this is not correct. From what is publicly available, Ferry said some reprehensible stuff he claims came from a scouting report written by someone else. The partial transcript obtained by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo does not especially back up that claim. Ferry may be right, and you are well within your rights to believe him. Hawks minority owner Michael Gearson is executing a power play, though whether that has an effect on the validity of his claims remains unestablished.

As for crucifixion, no one has suggested anything of the kind. (Other than, of course, a Kentucky troll named Bluegrassdevil; he doesn't really count.) So far the discussion has had difficult moving past the question of whether or not saying a bunch of racist garbage in a business setting is awesome. We're a good long ways from crucifixion, I promise.

throatybeard
09-11-2014, 12:50 AM
I think so, yes. According to the reports to date, Ferry wasn't reporting on racist comments that had been made, he was providing an evaluation of Deng to his employers. In doing so, he made a decision to include, or a decision not to exclude, racially charged comments about a player in the team's deliberations. Whether they were his words or the words of another Ferry chose to introduce those comments into the team's decision making. At best, it was a sign of incredibly poor judgment on his part.

Uggh.

OK.

I need to lie down.

Papa John
09-11-2014, 05:23 AM
don't you think if Ferry had said "wow those are some inappropriate and offensive comments" at the time, that he would have mentioned that now in his statement?

Yes. But of course, I would be speculating, as everyone in this thread and everyone in the media are currently doing. If we simply look at the actual scouting report and listen to the actual phone call audio, we will know what really went down.

YmoBeThere
09-11-2014, 05:44 AM
More importantly, should he be crucified for one error in judgement in what was a non-public meeting? Doesn't leave much opportunity to learn from his mistake, does it?

I would say yes. Ferry should have outright dismissed what he read, "Who wrote this trash?" and "What are they doing working for us?" The fact that he didn't is more than just an error in judgement to me.

kkwst2
09-11-2014, 07:59 AM
Unfortunately, this is not correct. From what is publicly available, Ferry said some reprehensible stuff he claims came from a scouting report written by someone else. The partial transcript obtained by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo does not especially back up that claim. Ferry may be right, and you are well within your rights to believe him. Hawks minority owner Michael Gearson is executing a power play, though whether that has an effect on the validity of his claims remains unestablished.

As for crucifixion, no one has suggested anything of the kind. (Other than, of course, a Kentucky troll named Bluegrassdevil; he doesn't really count.) So far the discussion has had difficult moving past the question of whether or not saying a bunch of racist garbage in a business setting is awesome. We're a good long ways from crucifixion, I promise.

Yeah, I'm getting the feeling that the first part he probably read the words of the scouting report, but the last part was probably his words. It is really less racist to me and more culturally insensitive. I mean most black Americans cannot be identified by this stereotype. I have known Africans (ie raised in Africa) who like to joke about being more worldly or cunning than black Americans, which is what I think was sort of being alluded to. No doubt it was a dumb thing to say and certainly insensitive, but I really don't think these comments make him a racist and I do believe that this was Gearson having a grudge against Ferry. My personal opinion is that these comments should not get him fired even if they are his own. He should have to take some cultural sensitivity training. They do not make him a bad person. But if this board is a good sample, I am apparently in the minority in this opinion.

TampaDuke
09-11-2014, 08:52 AM
I think so, yes. According to the reports to date, Ferry wasn't reporting on racist comments that had been made, he was providing an evaluation of Deng to his employers. In doing so, he made a decision to include, or a decision not to exclude, racially charged comments about a player in the team's deliberations. Whether they were his words or the words of another Ferry chose to introduce those comments into the team's decision making. At best, it was a sign of incredibly poor judgment on his part.

I agree with your take. I was hoping that the initial reports stating that he was reading from someone else's scouting materials meant that he was just blindly regurgitating all information provided to him. If that were the case, though, it seems that those facts would have come to light by know and those presumably in the know would have said so to quell the storm. If there is a transcript or recording of the call as some have suggested, it should help answer the question, but I have a bad feeling that Ferry may have been repeating, from all the information he had, the information that he determined was probative. If so, his decision to include this inappropriate material is close to, if not equivalent to, authoring the statements in the first place. I really hope my gut turns out to be wrong.

Owen Meany
09-11-2014, 09:13 AM
I'm unsure of Gearon's credibility either. But you were the one who posted the Woj article. Does a call transcript not qualify as "some proof"? While not dispositive proof of Ferry's intent or the origin of the language, the transcript allows us to assume he said these words. Further, Wojnarowski believes the transcript carries the impression that the words are Ferry's own. Again, not dispositive proof, but we are setting an unrealistic burden on evidence if we cannot at least conclude Ferry engaged in some bewilderingly foolish and insensitive misjudgment.


I did link the yahoo article in response to provide some context - to show that this situation may be more complex than it appears on the surface. In particular, it was a response to someone suggesting Ferry's number be removed from the rafters, never be worn again, he be disassociated from the university, etc. Danny Ferry's professional life is on the line. Worse, he may well be labeled a racist for life and find himself persona non grata in basketball circles and, if some people have their way, polite society in general. This will have a very negative effect on him and his family for years to come.

Given the seriousness of the ramifications for Ferry's life - No, I do not think "Wojnarowki's [B]beliefs that the partial transcript carries the impression that the words are Ferry's own " is sufficient. I do not think it is an "unrealistic burden" to expect more before devastating Ferry's personal and professional life. I think more information is needed - but perhaps I'm unreasonable.

This "partial" transcript does not clarify everything for me. Who provided it, and why is it partial? Was it Gearon - the same person who stated matter-of-factly that "Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and implicitly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat." A racial slur is generally considered to be a vile nickname, complete with a vile history, for a particular race. There is no such racial slur here - even though I'm sure that's what the majority of people imagine Ferry said as "racial slur" gets repeated again and again in the newspapers. Since the transcript never shows Ferry actually describing Deng as a "two-faced liar and cheat" as Gearon claimed, I am assuming he is stretching the truth here beyond all recognition and referring to Ferry's anecdote about Deng denying being a source for a news story. More importantly, I don't believe that anyone could, in good faith, claim this anecdote would in anyway, shape, or form imply Ferry was calling all persons of African descent "two-faced and dishonest". I would find this to be an egregious and intentional distortion of the truth, even if I were unaware that Ferry also described Deng as a good guy, positive for the culture of the lockerroom, etc. So unless Gearon and the author have withheld parts of the transcript that bolster his claims (unlikely), I feel that Gearon is a dishonest, manipulative person who has intentionally tried to ruin a person, both professionally and personally, to accomplish his own goals.

I am quite confused by what was meant by "a little African". I have yet to read or hear anyone who does know what this means - so I think its safe to assume that it doesn't fit some known stereotype of Africans. Since the entire point of using racial stereotypes is to build on people's own preconceptions and prejudices, it seems this statement could perhaps have another meaning, rather than Ferry feeding into some malicious stereotype that nobody else has ever heard of. It does concern me that Wojnarowski states "Once he started talking on the call about Deng, it wasn't long before Ferry marched himself directly into a foolish, ignorant riff of African stereotypes. On and on, Ferry started about how Deng "has got some African in him" and proceeded to make a comparison to Africans with phony facades selling counterfeit goods." Did Ferry actually compare him to Africans with phony facades, as stated here? Or is this another (mis)interpretation of the actual discussion as when we were told Ferry described Deng as a two-faced liar and cheat? "Marched ...into...ignorant riff" and "on and on" definitely imply (actually more than imply) that Ferry said many more things about Africans and African stereotypes. Even if you accept the store owner as an African stereotype (I don't) what were his other comments and why were they not included here? Perhaps Woj left them out because he thought he included enough material to get his point across, have Ferry removed from his position and felt no need to publicly flay Ferry and further inflame racial tensions in Atlanta. But that does not seem to be the press's modus operandi. If he isn't holding back information, then he is taking Ferry's (or a scout's) "African" and "store owner" comments and intentionally misrepresenting them as part of a larger "riff" that went "on and on". Which is important. Because two comments are more likely to have a less sinister explanation than a diatribe against Africans, as the story suggests.

I think it is critical to note that this incident was thoroughly investigated by an Atlanta law firm. The investigation was so thorough that it delved into an email from 2 years ago that led to the team's majority owner selling his share of the team. Adam Silver said this was the correct resolution. But Silver and the team's CEO - who know the true facts of this case - decided that Danny Ferry, the GM, should not lose his job. It would have been much easier for them to state that Ferry needed to step aside, facts be damned. They are both highly regarded and both have much to risk showing any support for Ferry. From CBS Atlanta "Koonin says that he “exceeded the punishment recommended by the law firm” hired to investigate this. This law firm consists of one of the top civil rights lawyers in the country." So obviously the law firm did not believe Ferry should be fired. This support from those who know the facts gives me reason to believe that Ferry's discussion has been misrepresented. Unfortunately for Ferry, I believe the damage may be done, regardless of the truth.

As an additional note, former NBA GM Wayne Embry and current NBA agent Bill Duffy have both spoken out in support of Ferry at a time when it would be very easy to remain quiet. Embry, the NBA's first African American GM plainly stated that "Danny Ferry is not a racist".

COYS
09-11-2014, 09:26 AM
Yeah, I'm getting the feeling that the first part he probably read the words of the scouting report, but the last part was probably his words. It is really less racist to me and more culturally insensitive. I mean most black Americans cannot be identified by this stereotype.

I know most probably know this, already and not to sidetrack the thread too much, but I'd like to point out that since race is entirely an invention of society (there is zero, zilch, nada in the way of scientific evidence validating skin color as a way of differentiating between human populations to justify the classification of different races . . . but that's a whole 'nother can of worms), the definition of what is "racist" changes between cultures. The trope of the swindling African is extremely common in Europe, though not nearly as common in the United States. Racism against black Africans in Europe is usually rooted in their status as immigrants, not descendants of slaves and the subsequent history of Jim Crow, etc, as it is in the United States. Therefore, what comes across as an offensive cultural reference to many Americans would easily be viewed as a racist remark in Europe. It even stands to reason that throughout his childhood in Africa and Europe, Deng actually faced more of the racist tropes propagated by European culture than American culture.

In this particular case, I think the remark certainly qualifies as racist AND culturally insensitive. Often, racism and cultural insensitivity are entangled. To me, this seems like a perfect example of a statement that demonstrates such an entanglement. It might not fit perfectly into the American concept of what racism directed toward an African American usually looks like, but, given that Deng was born in Africa and lived in Europe before coming to the United States, it is also not surprising that slightly different (and no less offensive) racial stereotypes might be applied to him.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 09:27 AM
Ferry reportedly wanted Deng in Atlanta and was his biggest advocate in the organization so any insinuation that Ferry attempted to deny employment opportunities to Deng because of his ethnic background is hooey. You may believe he was insensitive but if you label him a racist or his motivation as racist you are slandering Ferry and further cheapening the word which has already been much devalued.

As far as the African reference, it is a widely held belief among Western missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers that Civic leaders at all levels from national to village leaders are corrupt and speak out of both sides of their mouths. I've talked to numerous people, who love Africa and it's people BTW, and this is their biggest frustration in trying bring improvements to the suffering there. If you've served there in that capacity and have a different opinion I'll respect your opinion but it doesn't change a widely held view.

The comment about Deng, allegedly, was meant to infer that he's made public statements that haven't always matched his private statements or actions. Just as someone who loves Africa and it's people can speak of a frustrating aspect of their culture without being racist, so may Ferry speak about Deng as an advocate while discussing his real or perceived flaws whether he believes it or not.

Management should be able to talk frankly in a conference call about these issues in regard to personnel decisions. The person leaked the private conversation is the cancer in that organization. Who would want to be part of an ownership group with that back-biting weasel who would tear down the franchise in order to undermine a manager and/or elevate his own stature?

Deng handled the situation elegantly and supported his heritage. It's expected that he would disagree with the criticism and the implication. He should ask himself if he would reserve the right to converse freely and privately with management in unsterilized manner when making important business decisions.


As for those who choose to be offended and outraged on behalf of Deng and the continent of Africa you have a right to be offended as often as you like but I also have a right to point out that you are making a mountain out of a mole hill and perhaps you would be better served with less delicate sensibilities.

COYS
09-11-2014, 09:52 AM
As far as the African reference, it is a widely held belief among Western missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers that Civic leaders at all levels from national to village leaders are corrupt and speak out of both sides of their mouths. I've talked to numerous people, who love Africa and it's people BTW, and this is their biggest frustration in trying bring improvements to the suffering there. If you've served there in that capacity and have a different opinion I'll respect your opinion but it doesn't change a widely held view.


But isn't this EXACTLY why what the scouting report said and the fact that Ferry apparently brought it up without qualification is such a big issue? ALL CULTURES have people who talk out of both sides of their mouths every single day. Of course any organization should be on the lookout for someone who wants to pull one over on them. The problem is that if someone in the Hawks organization (I won't even say that Ferry specifically thinks this) believes that Deng is somehow LESS trustworthy simply because of the color of his skin and his background, that person is showing a clear bias against Africans rather than taking Deng as an individual. Whether or not this is a widely held belief is irrelevant. In my opinion, the fact that it is a widely held belief about Africans makes it that much more of a big deal.

The people you've spoken to who have gone to Africa in various capacities and know that corruption runs rampant must also know the reasons for this. There are many factors that contribute to this as you are well aware. Skin color isn't one of them. There is a smaller subset of the population in every culture representing every ethnic background that tends to take part in corrupt activities. The reasons for this are myriad. Poverty, lack of effective government, lack of oversight, the presence of a corrupt government, chaos caused by war/disease/hunger and many other factors can increase the likelihood of corruption. But you know what doesn't make a difference about the likelihood that Deng would be untrustworthy? The fact that Deng is black and from Africa.

Ferry would have been perfectly safe to say that another organization told him a cautionary tale about dealing with Deng's agent. To imply, whether intentionally or unintentionally, that Deng is somehow predisposed to swindling teams simply because he is from Africa is absolutely something that should be a big deal so that we, as a society, can begin to dismantle the racial and cultural stereotypes that continue to create injustice . . . even if any one application of a stereotype appears to be relatively innocuous.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 10:13 AM
But isn't this EXACTLY why what the scouting report said and the fact that Ferry apparently brought it up without qualification is such a big issue? ALL CULTURES have people who talk out of both sides of their mouths every single day. Of course any organization should be on the lookout for someone who wants to pull one over on them. The problem is that if someone in the Hawks organization (I won't even say that Ferry specifically thinks this) believes that Deng is somehow LESS trustworthy simply because of the color of his skin and his background, that person is showing a clear bias against Africans rather than taking Deng as an individual. Whether or not this is a widely held belief is irrelevant. In my opinion, the fact that it is a widely held belief about Africans makes it that much more of a big deal.

The people you've spoken to who have gone to Africa in various capacities and know that corruption runs rampant must also know the reasons for this. There are many factors that contribute to this as you are well aware. Skin color isn't one of them. There is a smaller subset of the population in every culture representing every ethnic background that tends to take part in corrupt activities. The reasons for this are myriad. Poverty, lack of effective government, lack of oversight, the presence of a corrupt government, chaos caused by war/disease/hunger and many other factors can increase the likelihood of corruption. But you know what doesn't make a difference about the likelihood that Deng would be untrustworthy? The fact that Deng is black and from Africa.

Ferry would have been perfectly safe to say that another organization told him a cautionary tale about dealing with Deng's agent. To imply, whether intentionally or unintentionally, that Deng is somehow predisposed to swindling teams simply because he is from Africa is absolutely something that should be a big deal so that we, as a society, can begin to dismantle the racial and cultural stereotypes that continue to create injustice . . . even if any one application of a stereotype appears to be relatively innocuous.

When was skin color ever mentioned? Yes I believe the point being made (by whoever made it) was that Deng has a proclivity to talk out of both side of his mouth in some instance perhaps due to his African heritage. Who would ever deal with someone from another culture without considering the culture? If there are customary ways of showing respect should you ignore those in order to "treat someone as an individual". You are setting a standard that you nor anyone else actually holds to. People can't be expected to vet every private word as if it were the organization's public mission statement. The people who are lying in wait to become offended should be ignored imo. Otherwise you are just feeding the monster that inflames but offers no solution. Dialogue is often mentioned by people who actually want to perform an unchallenged brow-beating. Dialogue actually means discussion in which both views are respected not merely preaching your version of the "truth" to the congregation.

Potato Head
09-11-2014, 10:37 AM
"Africa" is not a race. There are white people there. If you have to make assumptions about a statement before it becomes racist, then it's not a racist statement. That's not to say Ferry isn't a racist, since he very well might be, and we'll probably never know. He's going to get sacked in any case, so I suppose it's a moot point.

COYS
09-11-2014, 10:57 AM
When was skin color ever mentioned? Yes I believe the point being made (by whoever made it) was that Deng has a proclivity to talk out of both side of his mouth in some instance perhaps due to his African heritage. Who would ever deal with someone from another culture without considering the culture? If there are customary ways of showing respect should you ignore those in order to "treat someone as an individual". You are setting a standard that you nor anyone else actually holds to. People can't be expected to vet every private word as if it were the organization's public mission statement. The people who are lying in wait to become offended should be ignored imo. Otherwise you are just feeding the monster that inflames but offers no solution. Dialogue is often mentioned by people who actually want to perform an unchallenged brow-beating. Dialogue actually means discussion in which both views are respected not merely preaching your version of the "truth" to the congregation.

I believe you're creating a straw man to argue with. I think it is difficult to say that skin color isn't blatantly implied when someone who is talking about Deng says "he's got a bit of African in him." Other than that, I think you either misunderstand my post or think I'm advocating courses of action that I'm not advocating. I'm not saying that we should be unaware of the cultural background of other people. Actually, I think we should have great respect for it. Greeting someone with an appropriate cultural custom is entirely different than presupposing that the same person is out to swindle you because of their cultural/racial background. I never have advocated for vetting every single person's private conversations. In the event that biased remarks made by people making employment decisions (and that are possibly in violation of discrimination laws) are made public, I think the public benefits from an honest discussion of those remarks and why such cultural assumptions are problematic. Public discussion and understanding is the best means to a solution I can think of. At the very least, I think it is a prerequisite to solving racism.

I agree with you that being aware of a person's cultural background is important in business dealings. Cultural misunderstandings happen all the time in business where one side can unintentionally offend the other side. Still, that does not excuse someone (again, not necessarily Ferry) for believing (falsely) that Deng is more likely to be untrustworthy simply because he is African. His African background alone is entirely insufficient evidence to demonstrate untrustworthiness. Even if he is part of some African organized crime ring (and unless there is some seriously crazy story out there, this seems to be an absurd idea) we as a culture need to be sure to recognize that the fact that crime and corruption exist in Africa doesn't lead to the idea that "African" is synonymous with "untrustworthy." In this quote, the term "African" is essentially used instead of "untrustworthy." To me, that is something that is definitely worthy of discussion.

Des Esseintes
09-11-2014, 11:06 AM
"Africa" is not a race. There are white people there. If you have to make assumptions about a statement before it becomes racist, then it's not a racist statement. That's not to say Ferry isn't a racist, since he very well might be, and we'll probably never know. He's going to get sacked in any case, so I suppose it's a moot point.

If someone were to start saying a bunch of viciously colorful stuff about "Israeli bankers," you, Mr. Potato Head, you'd be all, "Hey, everybody! The state of Israel contains a significant percentage of Arab and Christian citizens! So you see this can't be anti-Semitic hate speech!" That's what you'd say to defend that misunderstood speaker, right? Because if you have to make assumptions, a statement can't be bigoted. Everybody knows bigoted statements are never, ever guilty of wide-ranging assumptions.

throatybeard
09-11-2014, 11:36 AM
I know most probably know this, already and not to sidetrack the thread too much, but I'd like to point out that since race is entirely an invention of society (there is zero, zilch, nada in the way of scientific evidence validating skin color as a way of differentiating between human populations to justify the classification of different races . . . but that's a whole 'nother can of worms), the definition of what is "racist" changes between cultures. The trope of the swindling African is extremely common in Europe, though not nearly as common in the United States. Racism against black Africans in Europe is usually rooted in their status as immigrants, not descendants of slaves and the subsequent history of Jim Crow, etc, as it is in the United States. Therefore, what comes across as an offensive cultural reference to many Americans would easily be viewed as a racist remark in Europe. It even stands to reason that throughout his childhood in Africa and Europe, Deng actually faced more of the racist tropes propagated by European culture than American culture.

In this particular case, I think the remark certainly qualifies as racist AND culturally insensitive. Often, racism and cultural insensitivity are entangled. To me, this seems like a perfect example of a statement that demonstrates such an entanglement. It might not fit perfectly into the American concept of what racism directed toward an African American usually looks like, but, given that Deng was born in Africa and lived in Europe before coming to the United States, it is also not surprising that slightly different (and no less offensive) racial stereotypes might be applied to him.

Thanks for this post--you educated me. I didn't know about the European stereotype of Africans as swindlers. I wonder if this is an outgrowth of the more or less pan-cultural trope in mythology of the [often but not always dark-skinned] trickster character, like Loki, Tar Baby in the Brer Rabbit stories, et cetera. In AfAm Literature, this character is often a hero who sort of plays by his own rules and gets around the will of oppressors. It's easy to see how the much of the white mainstream would decide to view the same character as dishonest.

I just realized that in the iconic and now retired Otto Schenk production of Wagner's Ring at the Met (1986-2009), in the early runs of that production, Siegfried Jerusalem played the demi-god Loge (Loki), and his makeup was...uh...well it wasn't blackface or anything like that exactly, but they kind of made him dark gold (?) when none of the other gods were doing anything other than being their white European-looking skin-displaying selves.

I've spent very little time in Europe but I coupled with a French woman for a bit more than a year. She's very progressive but she knows some people who aren't. White French people, a lot of them kind of aren't into Algerians, for example. The general sense I got from her and her friends talking about stuff is the Europeans are just a heck of a lot more honest about racism and/or being anti-some ethnic group than we are over here. They're like "hell no I don't like [fill in group]." Whereas over here, everyone seems to know you're not supposed to be racist, but I know tons of people who totally are racist, but they deny it, or claim to be "colorblind" when any semi-objective observer knows they aren't. I also have a friend who lives in the Czech Republic. He tells me things. My goodness, the things people over there say about the Roma people?

The anti-racism campaign at the 2014 World Cup was interesting, wasn't it? I mean, (1) why didn't it happen in South Africa four years ago, a country that has a history of, well, you know. (2) Soccer is a European game in provenance, and the non-European countries that are really good at it (Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, maybe Chile) have a history of being ruled by a lighter-skinned ethnic European elite, so why did this campaign happen just now in Brazil, particularly? (3) As I said before, the thing Europeans do better about racism than we do over here is at least be more honest about being racist, so why didn't this WC anti-racism campaign not happen in, say, 1994 in the USA? So many odd things if you stop to think about them.

One more observation. I pay a LOT of attention to issues deal with race and ethnicity in this country, and I think this Atlanta Hawks deal is the weirdest situation I've ever seen pertaining thereto.

I think I'm also becoming conscious of something about myself: I think I'm giving Ferry the benefit of the doubt partly due to...well not his Duke connection per se, but that fact that both he and Luol Deng have Duke connections. Duke is a small school surrounded by a very very very very very very hostile hate-filled enemy. I'm not in any way saying that experience is the same as institutional racism, especially if you're a tall white guy like Ferry, but Duke people do know what it's like to have all sorts of people irrationally hating you, and we stick together partly on that basis. All of us Dukies have a piece of ourselves where we meet each other, and it's like, "oh thank God, we're simpatico." For this reason, I find it hard to believe that Ferry would throw Deng under the bus for being ethnically African. I'm not in Danny Ferry's head, but if I'm him and I see Luol Deng, I think not "you're Black" or "you're African" but rather "oh thank God, another Duke guy besides me." And if I"m a GM or something, network effects make me more likely to favor Luol Deng over an equally-talented player who went to Michigan State or Australia. We know this happens in business. So I suppose if this were the exact same news story and the player was not Luol Deng but some other dude from Africa/Europe who went to, I don't know, KU, I'd be far less likely to give Ferry the benefit of the doubt.

Actually, one more more observation. Ferry is funny (odd) in the ever-changing Duke narrative. He occupies a spot in Duke MBB history that no one else quite does. My grandfather (1916-1993) gave me a gift, a painting of all the most important players and coaches in Duke MBB history. I forget who the artist was, but it was about 1990. I know this because my parents moved from Carrollton GA to LaGrange GA in summer 1989, and I don't remember the painting being in the Carrollton house. I have to think the painting was heavily influenced by Bill Brill's 1986 book, of which I've sung praises here and other places many times. The most "relevant" guys were larger in the picture, relevancy measured by some combination of recency and impact. So, for example, Art Heyman was big even though he played a generation earlier. Werber wasn't huge, but you could see him. Koffenberger was visible. Bubas was bigger than Foster. Dawkins was huge.

The guy who took up the most space besides Krzyzewksi was Danny Ferry. And then in 1993, for the 40th anniversary of the league that Maryland just abandoned, someone on TV announced an all-time All-ACC lineup with a rigid college-not-NBA understanding of one person each at PG, SG, SF, PF, and C. Ferry was the PF. So for example, I never hear anyone talk about Phil Ford in the NBA, but I'm pretty sure he was the PG. Twenty-five years later, everyone Duke talks about Fred Lind more than they do about Danny Ferry, much less the 1978 team, the 1986 team on which he played but wasn't a huge piece, much less all the other recent guys and teams you can fill in in your head. He's one of only three Duke MBB guys to have an NBA ring as a player, if I'm not mistaken (Mullins, Battier). But I hadn't heard his name in a while before this.

We live in weird times, y'all.

Black Mambo
09-11-2014, 11:40 AM
As far as the African reference, it is a widely held belief among Western missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers that Civic leaders at all levels from national to village leaders are corrupt and speak out of both sides of their mouths. I've talked to numerous people, who love Africa and it's people BTW, and this is their biggest frustration in trying bring improvements to the suffering there. If you've served there in that capacity and have a different opinion I'll respect your opinion but it doesn't change a widely held view.

The comment about Deng, allegedly, was meant to infer that he's made public statements that haven't always matched his private statements or actions. Just as someone who loves Africa and it's people can speak of a frustrating aspect of their culture without being racist, so may Ferry speak about Deng as an advocate while discussing his real or perceived flaws whether he believes it or not.

As for those who choose to be offended and outraged on behalf of Deng and the continent of Africa you have a right to be offended as often as you like but I also have a right to point out that you are making a mountain out of a mole hill and perhaps you would be better served with less delicate sensibilities.

This is nonsensical. It is degrading (and racist/xenophobic/choose a word you like) to ascribe a negative attribute to a whole continent because of a behavior that is evident in all races/nationalities. I am African. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the States when I was young. Though I grew up in American society and assimilated quite well, my parents still kept African culture alive in my home and amongst the larger African community in North Carolina we interacted with. Were there some of them who talked out of both sides of their mouth? Of course. Were there many, including myself and my family, who tried to treat people with honesty and respect? Of course. Do you realize that in America, there are plenty of people who talk out of both sides of their mouth? They are called politicians, and they are white (mostly), but also black Americans. They are called businessmen (and women), who are white, black, Indian, etc... They are called everyday people you meet on the street. How does one thus ascribe a ubiquitous human behavior exclusively to one group negatively, and it not be considered racist/xenophobic? One could easily make the argument that lying, falsely advertising, and misleading people is being "too American", but that would be ridiculous and not true, because in reality it is being "too Worldly".

I do not fault Ferry if these were not his own words. But let's be serious. Reading the scouting report verbatim with no personal rebuke was at best unprofessional. As another posted suggested, if the scouting report contained the N-word, would Ferry have read it so casually, without any remark as to his disdain for the use of it? Or wouldnt he be in the media saying that yes he read it, but he quickly rebuked its use? As Jay Bilas likes to say, this doesnt pass the smell test (non-scientific, I know).

By all accounts, Ferry has a good reputation amongst his peers, both black and white. And this situation could be nothing more than a brain fart. but it still happened. He has taken responsibility for it, and has apologized to Deng, so it should be done. But lets not play Jedi mind tricks and try to convince others and ourselves that there was nothing to see here.

jacone21
09-11-2014, 11:57 AM
Myself, I've always been a little suspicious of Louis Oosthuizen and Ernie Els.

tbyers11
09-11-2014, 12:07 PM
"Africa" is not a race. There are white people there. If you have to make assumptions about a statement before it becomes racist, then it's not a racist statement. That's not to say Ferry isn't a racist, since he very well might be, and we'll probably never know. He's going to get sacked in any case, so I suppose it's a moot point.

Huh? Ferry's boss (Steve Koonin) and his "boss" (Adam Silver) state that he will not be fired and that he shouldn't be fired, respectively. I don't think he's getting fired.

COYS
09-11-2014, 12:15 PM
"Africa" is not a race. There are white people there. If you have to make assumptions about a statement before it becomes racist, then it's not a racist statement. That's not to say Ferry isn't a racist, since he very well might be, and we'll probably never know. He's going to get sacked in any case, so I suppose it's a moot point.

Scientifically, this is right on. "Africa" is definitely not a race. It is a continent with incredible diversity. In fact, the most recent tracing of the human genome suggests that there is more genetic diversity among African populations than there is in the rest of the world combined. Of course, even the two most genetically diverse humans on earth are not different enough to qualify as a different race, scientifically speaking.

Race is a concept humans have made up in an attempt to organize people into groups. This means that each culture has its own ideas about what constitutes a "race" and what doesn't. I mentioned this earlier in the thread, but the fact that in United States "African American" is considered a race while "African" is not doesn't mean that "African" can't be a racist term. This is due to the unique history of race in the United States. In Europe, where Deng spent a good portion of his life, being "African" is a race. In fact, the darker you are, the more "African" you are considered to be.

Think about it this way. An Arab Egyptian immigrating to the United States asked to fill out a census survey that uses American concepts of race/ethnicity might check the "African American" box. It makes logical sense. They were originally from Africa. Now they are American. In the absence of a more specific option for categorization, "African American" seems to be the closest. However, in American culture, we would not consider them "African American" as that term has come to apply exclusively to descendants of slaves and other dark-skinned immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, Brazil, etc (though, recently, there has been some movement to change these racial definitions). The way "African" was used to describe Deng clearly invokes the term "African" as a racial definition and borrows from European racial distinctions.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 12:29 PM
This is nonsensical. It is degrading (and racist/xenophobic/choose a word you like) to ascribe a negative attribute to a whole continent because of a behavior that is evident in all races/nationalities. I am African. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the States when I was young. Though I grew up in American society and assimilated quite well, my parents still kept African culture alive in my home and amongst the larger African community in North Carolina we interacted with. Were there some of them who talked out of both sides of their mouth? Of course. Were there many, including myself and my family, who tried to treat people with honesty and respect? Of course. Do you realize that in America, there are plenty of people who talk out of both sides of their mouth? They are called politicians, and they are white (mostly), but also black Americans. They are called businessmen (and women), who are white, black, Indian, etc... They are called everyday people you meet on the street. How does one thus ascribe a ubiquitous human behavior exclusively to one group negatively, and it not be considered racist/xenophobic? One could easily make the argument that lying, falsely advertising, and misleading people is being "too American", but that would be ridiculous and not true, because in reality it is being "too Worldly".

I do not fault Ferry if these were not his own words. But let's be serious. Reading the scouting report verbatim with no personal rebuke was at best unprofessional. As another posted suggested, if the scouting report contained the N-word, would Ferry have read it so casually, without any remark as to his disdain for the use of it? Or wouldnt he be in the media saying that yes he read it, but he quickly rebuked its use? As Jay Bilas likes to say, this doesnt pass the smell test (non-scientific, I know).

By all accounts, Ferry has a good reputation amongst his peers, both black and white. And this situation could be nothing more than a brain fart. but it still happened. He has taken responsibility for it, and has apologized to Deng, so it should be done. But lets not play Jedi mind tricks and try to convince others and ourselves that there was nothing to see here.

With all due respect, your statement is part of the problem. You don't like what I said so you assigned a racist/xenophobic motive without any evidence. Every characteristic exists in every culture but it is a matter of degree. There are many negative characteristics that can rightly be attributed to America and many positive characteristics that are uniquely African. Have you never spoken of Nigerian people as a whole in some complimentary manner even though you know of a few Nigerians who don't display that characteristic? Don't you know of and haven't you ever spoken of characteristics that are more common to either Americans or Nigerians when compared with the other even though that characteristic cannot possibly attributed to every American or Nigerian? Of course you have otherwise you perceive both cultures to be identical. So when comparing the cultures in America and Nigeria, there inevitably are both positive and negative characteristics that are more prevalent in both. Also Nigerians and Americans as a whole will likely have different view of what those positive and negative characteristics are. I believe these were Americans having a private business conversation. It is also understood that Danny Ferry was an advocate for bringing Deng to the Hawks so there is no malice towards race/nationality intended here. The fact that you or anyone else doesn't like a commonly held perception does not change the reality that it exists and also does not make the perception wrong.

We need to be able to have honest conversations about these differences and/or misunderstandings. If you believe someone is misinformed, don't automatically assume they are racist. If my choice is that either I must agree with you or be labeled a racist then I have no desire to engage with you. Why can we not have a conversation and either hash things out or agree to disagree? I may very well not come around to your point of view on this particular issue so if the only outcome is either I agree with you or I'm a racist then I'm just not interested in having the discussion with you.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 12:42 PM
I believe you're creating a straw man to argue with. I think it is difficult to say that skin color isn't blatantly implied when someone who is talking about Deng says "he's got a bit of African in him." Other than that, I think you either misunderstand my post or think I'm advocating courses of action that I'm not advocating. I'm not saying that we should be unaware of the cultural background of other people. Actually, I think we should have great respect for it. Greeting someone with an appropriate cultural custom is entirely different than presupposing that the same person is out to swindle you because of their cultural/racial background. I never have advocated for vetting every single person's private conversations. In the event that biased remarks made by people making employment decisions (and that are possibly in violation of discrimination laws) are made public, I think the public benefits from an honest discussion of those remarks and why such cultural assumptions are problematic. Public discussion and understanding is the best means to a solution I can think of. At the very least, I think it is a prerequisite to solving racism.

I agree with you that being aware of a person's cultural background is important in business dealings. Cultural misunderstandings happen all the time in business where one side can unintentionally offend the other side. Still, that does not excuse someone (again, not necessarily Ferry) for believing (falsely) that Deng is more likely to be untrustworthy simply because he is African. His African background alone is entirely insufficient evidence to demonstrate untrustworthiness. Even if he is part of some African organized crime ring (and unless there is some seriously crazy story out there, this seems to be an absurd idea) we as a culture need to be sure to recognize that the fact that crime and corruption exist in Africa doesn't lead to the idea that "African" is synonymous with "untrustworthy." In this quote, the term "African" is essentially used instead of "untrustworthy." To me, that is something that is definitely worthy of discussion.

I believe that skin color is not specifically implied. I'm very confident that "African" in this instance was intended to mean the African Continent and that African Americans are specifically excluded. With zero evidence you insinuating a racial motive that is not there.

Troublemaker
09-11-2014, 12:46 PM
I didn't know about the European stereotype of Africans as swindlers.



I am quite confused by what was meant by "a little African". I have yet to read or hear anyone who does know what this means - so I think its safe to assume that it doesn't fit some known stereotype of Africans.

Yeah, I hadn't heard of the Africans = swindlers stereotype, either. If it exists, I wonder how much online scams (e.g. a "Nigerian prince" emailing you requesting help) contribute to that stereotype.

http://www.419eater.com/html/419faq.htm
http://www.onlinedatingsafetytips.com/AfricanScammers.cfm

Duvall
09-11-2014, 12:51 PM
I believe these were Americans having a private business conversation.

You realize that the fact that it was a private business conversation makes the matter far worse right? A public business statement is out there for all of the firm's business partners and customers to evaluate. A personal conversation could be argued to be separate from the operations of the firm. Private business conversations are the place where pernicious stereotypes should be *least* tolerated.

OldSchool
09-11-2014, 12:52 PM
Before someone starts trying to write a PhD thesis in this thread on this, let me explain where this comment comes from. It ain't complicated.

If you've spent a lot of time in European cities (I have) you can't help but have noticed the presence of African immigrants (for many years now) selling counterfeit consumer goods such as Gucci handbags on the sidewalks. If you stop and talk to some of these folks (I have) you will find that many come from Senegal (but I haven't taken a survey on this). I understand that many have moved on to better jobs so it may be less prevalent now than in the past.

So when someone says Deng is like a guy with a legitimate store but he has a little African in him so he's selling fake Gucci handbags out back, that's where the allusion comes from. Is it an ethnic slur? Of course it is an ethnic slur. It's one thing to say Deng is two-faced (that's an insult, but so what) but it's another to say he's two-faced because he's African like the guy selling fake Gucci handbags.

Should anyone be forced from his job and have his life ruined over this comment? Of course not. A sincere apology with a reasonable expectation of not saying such offensive things in the future is enough, unless there is a repeating pattern of offensiveness. I have heard people of all kinds of ethnicities and nationalities say outrageous and offensive things. The human tongue is a difficult thing to bridle and a careless and hurtful statement cannot be unsaid.

I thought Luol took an appropriate stance on this. But the guy that wrote the original comment in the scouting report does need to come forward and take responsibility and offer a sincere apology to Lu.

Mtn.Devil.91.92.01.10.15
09-11-2014, 01:15 PM
This is nonsensical. It is degrading (and racist/xenophobic/choose a word you like) to ascribe a negative attribute to a whole continent because of a behavior that is evident in all races/nationalities. I am African. I was born in Nigeria and moved to the States when I was young. Though I grew up in American society and assimilated quite well, my parents still kept African culture alive in my home and amongst the larger African community in North Carolina we interacted with. Were there some of them who talked out of both sides of their mouth? Of course. Were there many, including myself and my family, who tried to treat people with honesty and respect? Of course. Do you realize that in America, there are plenty of people who talk out of both sides of their mouth? They are called politicians, and they are white (mostly), but also black Americans. They are called businessmen (and women), who are white, black, Indian, etc... They are called everyday people you meet on the street. How does one thus ascribe a ubiquitous human behavior exclusively to one group negatively, and it not be considered racist/xenophobic? One could easily make the argument that lying, falsely advertising, and misleading people is being "too American", but that would be ridiculous and not true, because in reality it is being "too Worldly".

I do not fault Ferry if these were not his own words. But let's be serious. Reading the scouting report verbatim with no personal rebuke was at best unprofessional. As another posted suggested, if the scouting report contained the N-word, would Ferry have read it so casually, without any remark as to his disdain for the use of it? Or wouldnt he be in the media saying that yes he read it, but he quickly rebuked its use? As Jay Bilas likes to say, this doesnt pass the smell test (non-scientific, I know).

By all accounts, Ferry has a good reputation amongst his peers, both black and white. And this situation could be nothing more than a brain fart. but it still happened. He has taken responsibility for it, and has apologized to Deng, so it should be done. But lets not play Jedi mind tricks and try to convince others and ourselves that there was nothing to see here.

You clearly haven't been paying attention upthread. Lotusland said that you couldn't be offended.

Seriously lotusland, are you going to go toe-to-toe with someone about what they get to be offended by? If so, as we say here in the south "God bless you."

COYS
09-11-2014, 01:29 PM
I believe that skin color is not specifically implied. I'm very confident that "African" in this instance was intended to mean the African Continent and that African Americans are specifically excluded. With zero evidence you insinuating a racial motive that is not there.


I wrote explicitly in my post that the racist use of the term "African" is different in this instance and is not based on the American definition of an "African American." I agree that the comment wasn't intended to refer to African Americans as we in the United States understand the term. Given how eerily similar the language of the quote describing Deng is to the common European stereotype of a shady "African" (again, the more dark skinned you are, the more "African" you are in most European eyes) swindling customers on street corners, there is more than enough evidence to indicate that "African," used in this way, has obvious racial implications based on the European designation of "African" as a race. So no, I'm not insinuating a racial motive based on zero evidence. You gotta give me a bit more credit than that. I would argue that your belief that skin color is not implied is much harder to support with the evidence that we have. But ultimately, I think it's somewhat irrelevant. Even if the phrase doesn't call out black Africans, specifically, it calls out Africa as a whole. This is a continent that is, of course, composed of many ethnic groups, the vast majority of which are not "white." Insulting all those ethnicities all at once or singling out the darker-skinned ones doesn't make the comment any better from either angle.

Reisen
09-11-2014, 01:31 PM
Before someone starts trying to write a PhD thesis in this thread on this, let me explain where this comment comes from. It ain't complicated.

If you've spent a lot of time in European cities (I have) you can't help but have noticed the presence of African immigrants (for many years now) selling counterfeit consumer goods such as Gucci handbags on the sidewalks. If you stop and talk to some of these folks (I have) you will find that many come from Senegal (but I haven't taken a survey on this). I understand that many have moved on to better jobs so it may be less prevalent now than in the past.

So when someone says Deng is like a guy with a legitimate store but he has a little African in him so he's selling fake Gucci handbags out back, that's where the allusion comes from. Is it an ethnic slur? Of course it is an ethnic slur. It's one thing to say Deng is two-faced (that's an insult, but so what) but it's another to say he's two-faced because he's African like the guy selling fake Gucci handbags.

Should anyone be forced from his job and have his life ruined over this comment? Of course not. A sincere apology with a reasonable expectation of not saying such offensive things in the future is enough, unless there is a repeating pattern of offensiveness. I have heard people of all kinds of ethnicities and nationalities say outrageous and offensive things. The human tongue is a difficult thing to bridle and a careless and hurtful statement cannot be unsaid.

I thought Luol took an appropriate stance on this. But the guy that wrote the original comment in the scouting report does need to come forward and take responsibility and offer a sincere apology to Lu.

Great post, and lots of other great posts in this thread, including Black Mambo's and COYS' (just to pick a few). I'm the first to call out people for race baiting, or trying to create a racial issue where there is none. I feel strongly that businesspeople should be able to openly talk about customer demographics, including race/culture/ethnicity, without needing to parse their words in PC-speak. Hence my comments on Levenson. Complaining that an all-black cheerleading squad or non-stop rap music is not helping attract middle-aged white men should not be considered offensive. If he wants to claim that white customers spend more than black customers at stadium concessions, that's up to him, but it's no more offensive than grocery stores claiming suburban moms spend more on Mac & Cheese than male college students (I'm obviously making that up. No one spends more on Mac & Cheese and ramen noodles than male college students).

Ferry's comments are fair game for criticism, though, and are akin to saying "he's got a little jew in him", and implying he's greedy. I think Oldschool sums it up nicely that he made a mistake, apologized, and that should be enough.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 01:31 PM
You clearly haven't been paying attention upthread. Lotusland said that you couldn't be offended.

Seriously lotusland, are you going to go toe-to-toe with someone about what they get to be offended by? If so, as we say here in the south "God bless you."

No people can be offended whenever they want. It is not incumbent upon me to pacify them or help them feel justified. You may be offended by something I did for which I did not intend to offend of feel should be considered the least bit offensive. Sticks and stones and all. I don't see the point of being offended but suit yourself.

Des Esseintes
09-11-2014, 01:40 PM
No people can be offended whenever they want. It is not incumbent upon me to pacify them or help them feel justified. You may be offended by something I did for which I did not intend to offend of feel should be considered the least bit offensive. Sticks and stones and all. I don't see the point of being offended but suit yourself.
Just like if I'm hammered drunk and want to drive around to sober up. Maybe while doing so I run over a dude and keep driving because I didn't totally realize I hit him. I drank a lot, okay? Next day, I can't even remember what I did while I was blacked out, and I'm really irritated when the cops want to question me about all the blood on my bumper. Maybe my situation is even more irritating because you're in the dead guy's family, and you're upset too. How dare you? The way I look at it, I wasn't trying to hit him. Moreover, I love drunk driving. It's a sweet challenge! So why is everyone hassling me when I wasn't trying to hurt anyone and just doing something I love, which is to gun through a power hour and then try to make it home without getting pulled over?

Black Mambo
09-11-2014, 01:42 PM
With all due respect, your statement is part of the problem. You don't like what I said so you assigned a racist/xenophobic motive without any evidence.

Where did I say you or your motives were racist/xenophonbic? It's the Ferry comment that ascribed a negative trait to an entire continent (based on what evidence)?


Every characteristic exists in every culture but it is a matter of degree.

So what does this mean in relation to the Ferry comment? Do Africans more than people from other continents speak out of both sides of their mouth? And setting aside the fact that it is just plain ignorant to try to define a continent of over 1.111 billion (with a B) people (as of 2013) with a single human behavior that is not at all unique to that part of the world historically or culturally, upon what evidence would you base your answer to the bolded phrase? Because any affirmation of the "too African" comment would somehow have to suggest that the truest answer to the bolded phrase is "Yes". That is an argument I would love to see you try to make.


There are many negative characteristics that can rightly be attributed to America and many positive characteristics that are uniquely African.

I think you mean stereotypes.


Have you never spoken of Nigerian people as a whole in some complimentary manner even though you know of a few Nigerians who don't display that characteristic? Don't you know of and haven't you ever spoken of characteristics that are more common to either Americans or Nigerians when compared with the other even though that characteristic cannot possibly attributed to every American or Nigerian? Of course you have otherwise you perceive both cultures to be identical. So when comparing the cultures in America and Nigeria, there inevitably are both positive and negative characteristics that are more prevalent in both. Also Nigerians and Americans as a whole will likely have different view of what those positive and negative characteristics are.

Ferry ascribed a stereotype to an entire continent as a whole, with the implication that while a few Africans may not be like this, the majority of Africans (again, as a 1.111 billion singular people, lol) are like that, and hence as an entire continent, should not be trusted.


I believe these were Americans having a private business conversation. It is also understood that Danny Ferry was an advocate for bringing Deng to the Hawks so there is no malice towards race/nationality intended here. The fact that you or anyone else doesn't like a commonly held perception does not change the reality that it exists and also does not make the perception wrong.

Who holds that perception? And again, on what factual evidence? And more to the point, how is that behavior "uniquely African", which is the crux of the "too African" statement?

There is a commonly held perception in many other cultures that "Americans are lazy". Now, if America could be classified as a singular race, then yes, that statement would be considered a racist comment. I am sure many anecdotes and examples could be conjured upon to back up the assertion that Americans are lazy. But we as Americans would say that, while there are people in America that are lazy, it is laughable to describe this nation as lazy. It's a dumb (and racist) stereotype, just like equating "too African" with being dishonest.


We need to be able to have honest conversations about these differences and/or misunderstandings. If you believe someone is misinformed, don't automatically assume they are racist.

Yes, yes, and yes. We need to have honest conversations. We need to be able to discuss positive and negative traits that are not based upon a few anecdotes that you read on the internet. The sum of all anecdotes does not equal truth. These honest conversations also have to include the ability to point out an error, which is what Ferry's comment was, because it is not really grounded in anything culturally or historically unique to Africa and it's apparently 1.111 billion singular people.


If my choice is that either I must agree with you or be labeled a racist then I have no desire to engage with you. Why can we not have a conversation and either hash things out or agree to disagree? I may very well not come around to your point of view on this particular issue so if the only outcome is either I agree with you or I'm a racist then I'm just not interested in having the discussion with you.

This is a nice (but ridiculous) attempt to present a false dichotomy, and try to exit stage left. Nobody every insinuated that about you. You are welcome to disagree with my point of view, with no real consequences (this is the internet, afterall).

It is entirely possible to make a singular remark that falls somewhere along the spectrum of ignorant -> racist without "being a racist".As I said in my original post, Ferry apologized, took ownership of his statement, and it should be done. A pattern of similar behavior would of course indicate a racist lean. But that doesn't negate that the statement itself was somewhere on the ignorant -> racist spectrum. You can love the sinner and still hate the sin.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 01:49 PM
You realize that the fact that it was a private business conversation makes the matter far worse right? A public business statement is out there for all of the firm's business partners and customers to evaluate. A personal conversation could be argued to be separate from the operations of the firm. Private business conversations are the place where pernicious stereotypes should be *least* tolerated.

So that I understand please confirm that "he's thought by some to be disingenuous at times", without the African reference, would be fine to say but adding "a little African" makes it "pernicious".

Sorry but there is nothing pernicious about the comment either way. Ferry wanted Deng in Atlanta but he wanted his employers to be aware of the potential good as well as the bad. Please stop accusing Danny of nefarious motives that you have no evidence to support and which do not make sense in light of the circumstances.

I think from, a legal standpoint, it is wise to not give your enemies any ammunition but I do not think fearful, sterile, carefully parsed discussions are of much use to an organization trying to reach a decision nor have I seen it when anything more than a pretense of discussion is occurring. You are talking about an ideal that practically does not exist and shouldn't imo. I would rather make the right decision than have pretty conversation.

OldSchool
09-11-2014, 02:01 PM
Great post, and lots of other great posts in this thread, including Black Mambo's and COYS' (just to pick a few). I'm the first to call out people for race baiting, or trying to create a racial issue where there is none. I feel strongly that businesspeople should be able to openly talk about customer demographics, including race/culture/ethnicity, without needing to parse their words in PC-speak. Hence my comments on Levenson. Complaining that an all-black cheerleading squad or non-stop rap music is not helping attract middle-aged white men should not be considered offensive. If he wants to claim that white customers spend more than black customers at stadium concessions, that's up to him, but it's no more offensive than grocery stores claiming suburban moms spend more on Mac & Cheese than male college students (I'm obviously making that up. No one spends more on Mac & Cheese and ramen noodles than male college students).

Ferry's comments are fair game for criticism, though, and are akin to saying "he's got a little jew in him", and implying he's greedy. I think Oldschool sums it up nicely that he made a mistake, apologized, and that should be enough.

And ironically the two-faced ones in all this are not the African immigrants selling the counterfeit goods. They are not the ones manufacturing and transporting these goods.

I once had a conversation with the general counsel at a European company (not Gucci) that was particularly hard-hit by counterfeit goods. I asked why they were not able to get a better handle on the problem, as there were people out on the sidewalk in their very own city selling this stuff. I was told they suspected the culprits were some of their very own outside suppliers (in Asia) doing unauthorized production runs.

I was not surprised to hear this, because if you stop and take some time to closely examine the products being sold on the street by these immigrants, in many cases the quality was surprisingly good.

It's these suppliers who really are the "two-faced" ones.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 02:01 PM
Where did I say you or your motives were racist/xenophonbic? It's the Ferry comment that ascribed a negative trait to an entire continent (based on what evidence)?



So what does this mean in relation to the Ferry comment? Do Africans more than people from other continents speak out of both sides of their mouth? And setting aside the fact that it is just plain ignorant to try to define a continent of over 1.111 billion (with a B) people (as of 2013) with a single human behavior that is not at all unique to that part of the world historically or culturally, upon what evidence would you base your answer to the bolded phrase? Because any affirmation of the "too African" comment would somehow have to suggest that the truest answer to the bolded phrase is "Yes". That is an argument I would love to see you try to make.



I think you mean stereotypes.



Ferry ascribed a stereotype to an entire continent as a whole, with the implication that while a few Africans may not be like this, the majority of Africans (again, as a 1.111 billion singular people, lol) are like that, and hence as an entire continent, should not be trusted.



Who holds that perception? And again, on what factual evidence? And more to the point, how is that behavior "uniquely African", which is the crux of the "too African" statement?

There is a commonly held perception in many other cultures that "Americans are lazy". Now, if America could be classified as a singular race, then yes, that statement would be considered a racist comment. I am sure many anecdotes and examples could be conjured upon to back up the assertion that Americans are lazy. But we as Americans would say that, while there are people in America that are lazy, it is laughable to describe this nation as lazy. It's a dumb (and racist) stereotype, just like equating "too African" with being dishonest.



Yes, yes, and yes. We need to have honest conversations. We need to be able to discuss positive and negative traits that are not based upon a few anecdotes that you read on the internet. The sum of all anecdotes does not equal truth. These honest conversations also have to include the ability to point out an error, which is what Ferry's comment was, because it is not really grounded in anything culturally or historically unique to Africa and it's apparently 1.111 billion singular people.



This is a nice (but ridiculous) attempt to present a false dichotomy, and try to exit stage left. Nobody every insinuated that about you. You are welcome to disagree with my point of view, with no real consequences (this is the internet, afterall).

It is entirely possible to make a singular remark that falls somewhere along the spectrum of ignorant -> racist without "being a racist".As I said in my original post, Ferry apologized, took ownership of his statement, and it should be done. A pattern of similar behavior would of course indicate a racist lean. But that doesn't negate that the statement itself was somewhere on the ignorant -> racist spectrum. You can love the sinner and still hate the sin.

We disagree. I'm not interested in point for point back and forth to no end on this topic and I'm neither offended or outraged by your view. Carry on.

devil84
09-11-2014, 02:22 PM
As a reminder, please keep your comments civil. The moderators have chosen to keep this thread open for the time being, despite some of our concerns about the public policy nature of many of the posts. Given the prominent role played by a Duke basketball alum, we think that some relaxation on the public policy prohibition in our guidelines should be allowed for this subject. However, if the dialog continues to deteriorate, we will not hesitate to shut down this thread and issue infractions.

It's getting a bit contentious in here again. Please keep your comments civil. Discuss the content of the posts; do not attack (or appear to attack) the poster.

throatybeard
09-11-2014, 02:56 PM
Wait, up, what, y'all? Africa "only" has 1.1B residents? That surprises me. That's less than either India or China. I think.

I can't say I've ever bought a real or fake Gucci handbag on the street, or anywhere. This board consistently educates me about what a country mouse I am, relatively speaking, despite living in a city.

sagegrouse
09-11-2014, 03:32 PM
So that I understand please confirm that "he's thought by some to be disingenuous at times", without the African reference, would be fine to say but adding "a little African" makes it "pernicious".

Sorry but there is nothing pernicious about the comment either way. Ferry wanted Deng in Atlanta but he wanted his employers to be aware of the potential good as well as the bad. Please stop accusing Danny of nefarious motives that you have no evidence to support and which do not make sense in light

Yep, as Mark Twain once said in a different context, "It's the difference between 'lightning' and 'lightning bug.'" Language matters.

Black Mambo
09-11-2014, 04:06 PM
So that I understand please confirm that "he's thought by some to be disingenuous at times", without the African reference, would be fine to say but adding "a little African" makes it "pernicious".

Sorry but there is nothing pernicious about the comment either way. Ferry wanted Deng in Atlanta but he wanted his employers to be aware of the potential good as well as the bad. Please stop accusing Danny of nefarious motives that you have no evidence to support and which do not make sense in light of the circumstances.

I think from, a legal standpoint, it is wise to not give your enemies any ammunition but I do not think fearful, sterile, carefully parsed discussions are of much use to an organization trying to reach a decision nor have I seen it when anything more than a pretense of discussion is occurring. You are talking about an ideal that practically does not exist and shouldn't imo. I would rather make the right decision than have pretty conversation.

@devil84: I assume that was aimed at me. You are heard loud and clear.

@lotusland: I would add that it is more than language. Calling someone disingenuous is a statement that one can make based upon interactions with a person. But yes, adding "a little African" and thereby implying that it is inherently African to be disingenuous, is a problem (unless it is true that being disingenuous is inherently African, which I am going to say that it is not). You can get things done and make the right decision without denigrating a group of people.

Ferry may have had clear motives and intent. I personally dont know him and cannot comment on his intent. However, Intent != Effect



For the non-programmers, != means "not equal to"

Duvall
09-11-2014, 05:11 PM
So that I understand please confirm that "he's thought by some to be disingenuous at times", without the African reference, would be fine to say but adding "a little African" makes it "pernicious".

Yes. In one case the speaker is making a judgment about an individual, in the other the speaker is using a negative stereotype to reach a judgment.


Sorry but there is nothing pernicious about the comment either way. Ferry wanted Deng in Atlanta but he wanted his employers to be aware of the potential good as well as the bad. Please stop accusing Danny of nefarious motives that you have no evidence to support and which do not make sense in light of the circumstances.

I think from, a legal standpoint, it is wise to not give your enemies any ammunition but I do not think fearful, sterile, carefully parsed discussions are of much use to an organization trying to reach a decision nor have I seen it when anything more than a pretense of discussion is occurring. You are talking about an ideal that practically does not exist and shouldn't imo. I would rather make the right decision than have pretty conversation.

Let's be clear about this. Is it your position that using stereotypes would *help* an organization make a decision, as opposed to focusing on, well, facts?

Potato Head
09-11-2014, 05:23 PM
If someone were to start saying a bunch of viciously colorful stuff about "Israeli bankers," you, Mr. Potato Head, you'd be all, "Hey, everybody! The state of Israel contains a significant percentage of Arab and Christian citizens! So you see this can't be anti-Semitic hate speech!" That's what you'd say to defend that misunderstood speaker, right? Because if you have to make assumptions, a statement can't be bigoted. Everybody knows bigoted statements are never, ever guilty of wide-ranging assumptions.

One post on the matter, instantly Godwin's Law'd.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 05:30 PM
Yes. In one case the speaker is making a judgment about an individual, in the other the speaker is using a negative stereotype to reach a judgment.



Let's be clear about this. Is it your position that using stereotypes would *help* an organization make a decision, as opposed to focusing on, well, facts?

I think the organization was discussing intelligence obtained from a scout on Deng. Whether or not it was a fact is unknown but it was information they presumably paid for. The fact that an association to African Heritage was made was is insignificant to the value of the intelligence and the result of the discussion except to those who are thrilled to be offended and to Danny's Ferry's reputation.

I've said straight up that I believe the perceived negative characteristic has some validity based on conversations I've had with people who have served there. You would call them racist I suppose but I would call them informed people who've done more for Africa than you most likely ever have. I have no problem whatsoever with your outrage and feel no responsibility to quell it. I'm not sidestepping the issue and I've stated my position plainly. We can disagree and you are welcome to think ill of me as I'm perfectly comfortable with the position I've stated.

theAlaskanBear
09-11-2014, 07:05 PM
Just listened to the audio here: http://m.ajc.com/videos/news/danny-ferry-audio-from-atlanta-hawks-conference/vCrkRW/

I would say it certainly doesn't sound like he is reading prepared remarks, but speaking off the cuff about a characterization given in the scouting report.

Jim3k
09-11-2014, 07:07 PM
Interesting discussion and I feel somewhat vindicated over my earlier post, particularly my insisting upon taking the statement in its context.

But...Has anyone considered whether Ferry...indeed, the entire complement of executives on the phone...may have been utilizing, and understanding, facetiousness? That could well be a game changer insofar as proper analysis is concerned. Such things happen frequently in business contexts and in any situation where one is among friends.

I think we all know that athletes, including Ferry, are (can be stereotyped) as kidders and jokers. And let's face it, in a locker room just about anything can be said so long as it is understood to be for a laugh. (And some of it does miss the mark and fall flat.) Moreover, I'm pretty sure Ferry isn't far from that locker room; neither are the investors. If I know anything from 45 years in the law, it's that there is much truth in lawyers' observation that tyranny (of meaning and understanding) can be found in cold transcripts. I wonder if Woj and others have fallen into that trap.

So, if facetiousness was a component of the conversation, the entire exchange seems pretty meaningless. That's even more true if Ferry is urging the ownership team to spring for Deng's salary demand where they know he is negotiating with other teams.

theAlaskanBear
09-11-2014, 07:20 PM
Interesting discussion and I feel somewhat vindicated over my earlier post, particularly my insisting upon taking the statement in its context.

But...Has anyone considered whether Ferry...indeed, the entire complement of executives on the phone...may have been utilizing, and understanding, facetiousness? That could well be a game changer insofar as proper analysis is concerned. Such things happen frequently in business contexts and in any situation where one is among friends.

I think we all know that athletes, including Ferry, are (can be stereotyped) as kidders and jokers. And let's face it, in a locker room just about anything can be said so long as it is understood to be for a laugh. (And some of it does miss the mark and fall flat.) Moreover, I'm pretty sure Ferry isn't far from that locker room; neither are the investors. If I know anything from 45 years in the law, it's that there is much truth in lawyers' observation that tyranny (of meaning and understanding) can be found in cold transcripts. I wonder if Woj and others have fallen into that trap.

So, if facetiousness was a component of the conversation, the entire exchange seems pretty meaningless. That's even more true if Ferry is urging the ownership team to spring for Deng's salary demand where they know he is negotiating with other teams.

Have you listened to the audio? I was giving the Ferry the benefit of the doubt in regards to "reading 3rd party scouting reports" but it seems pretty...bad. As in he is speaking off the cuff. Now lets see the contents of the scouting report.

Jim3k
09-11-2014, 07:32 PM
Have you listened to the audio? I was giving the Ferry the benefit of the doubt in regards to "reading 3rd party scouting reports" but it seems pretty...bad. As in he is speaking off the cuff. Now lets see the contents of the scouting report.

Yeah, I just heard the audio and I heard Ferry's partial disclaimer and the laughing coming from the other participants. There's nothing serious to be made of this. It's entirely related to whether the Hawks want to pay him $20 mil, nothing more.

Duvall
09-11-2014, 07:34 PM
This has been a really educational thread.

OldSchool
09-11-2014, 07:40 PM
Have you listened to the audio? I was giving the Ferry the benefit of the doubt in regards to "reading 3rd party scouting reports" but it seems pretty...bad. As in he is speaking off the cuff. Now lets see the contents of the scouting report.

Yes it's hard to say from the audio where he is getting a particular point he's reciting about Deng. One thing though, contrary to my suggestion, Ferry got the skinny on Deng not just from Cleveland, or maybe not even from Cleveland, but from the Bulls organization. He outright said at one point that Chicago has such-and-such to say about Deng.

Newton_14
09-11-2014, 07:41 PM
Okay, I'll stop making jokes. I'm the most progressive dude you know, at least adjusting for being a 6' Caucasian male. That said.

I'm still not sure I see where Ferry is wrong. I have to teach some literature that has the most famous racial epithet you know in it. We talk about what's going on, metacognitively. I may not be fully informed, but so far I haven't seen any evidence that Ferry was generating anything racist rather than reporting on racist things he didn't generate.

Am I wrong?

That's where I'm at, and I would hope I am the second most progressive dude behind you. :)

People need to stop projecting the scouts racism onto Ferry. Ferry is guilty of poor judgement, if he did not disparage the scout's comments at some point, but the evidence we have at hand shows those words were not Ferry's words or Ferry's thoughts. They vetted every communication and email Ferry has ever authored in his position with the company and found nothing.

So sorry, I want be voting to remove his jersey from the rafters.

throatybeard
09-11-2014, 08:59 PM
This has been a really educational thread.

About which posters are which, yeah.

About Mssr Ferry, well, there, I'm still at sea.

cspan37421
09-11-2014, 09:04 PM
If there's one thing I learned from the lacrosse hoax, it's to not come to a judgment based on one person's claims ... especially if that person is an interested party.

I am deeply suspicious that the whole of reporting has been "partial transcripts" and "partial audio" clips. That said, Ferry's formal statement after the news broke could have been more explanatory and complete as well.

It is quite possible to sound like you're speaking "off the cuff" when communicating a summary of the views of others. In fact, it's probably usually a good thing - it means you've processed the information and aren't just reading stuff verbatim. But when you openly deal in stereotypes of people(s), you're on skating on thin ice.

By the way, if 2 of the 3 worst bits of dirt on Luol includes the fact that he feels there's not enough of his merchandise in the team store, or has bobblehead giveaway timing concerns, he must be one of the least troublesome guys in the NBA. I'd expect him to be on the Spurs.

Pernell
09-11-2014, 09:32 PM
I did link the yahoo article in response to provide some context - to show that this situation may be more complex than it appears on the surface. In particular, it was a response to someone suggesting Ferry's number be removed from the rafters, never be worn again, he be disassociated from the university, etc. Danny Ferry's professional life is on the line. Worse, he may well be labeled a racist for life and find himself persona non grata in basketball circles and, if some people have their way, polite society in general. This will have a very negative effect on him and his family for years to come.

Given the seriousness of the ramifications for Ferry's life - No, I do not think "Wojnarowki's [B]beliefs that the partial transcript carries the impression that the words are Ferry's own " is sufficient. I do not think it is an "unrealistic burden" to expect more before devastating Ferry's personal and professional life. I think more information is needed - but perhaps I'm unreasonable.

This "partial" transcript does not clarify everything for me. Who provided it, and why is it partial? Was it Gearon - the same person who stated matter-of-factly that "Ferry completed the racial slur by describing the player (and implicitly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat." A racial slur is generally considered to be a vile nickname, complete with a vile history, for a particular race. There is no such racial slur here - even though I'm sure that's what the majority of people imagine Ferry said as "racial slur" gets repeated again and again in the newspapers. Since the transcript never shows Ferry actually describing Deng as a "two-faced liar and cheat" as Gearon claimed, I am assuming he is stretching the truth here beyond all recognition and referring to Ferry's anecdote about Deng denying being a source for a news story. More importantly, I don't believe that anyone could, in good faith, claim this anecdote would in anyway, shape, or form imply Ferry was calling all persons of African descent "two-faced and dishonest". I would find this to be an egregious and intentional distortion of the truth, even if I were unaware that Ferry also described Deng as a good guy, positive for the culture of the lockerroom, etc. So unless Gearon and the author have withheld parts of the transcript that bolster his claims (unlikely), I feel that Gearon is a dishonest, manipulative person who has intentionally tried to ruin a person, both professionally and personally, to accomplish his own goals.

I am quite confused by what was meant by "a little African". I have yet to read or hear anyone who does know what this means - so I think its safe to assume that it doesn't fit some known stereotype of Africans. Since the entire point of using racial stereotypes is to build on people's own preconceptions and prejudices, it seems this statement could perhaps have another meaning, rather than Ferry feeding into some malicious stereotype that nobody else has ever heard of. It does concern me that Wojnarowski states "Once he started talking on the call about Deng, it wasn't long before Ferry marched himself directly into a foolish, ignorant riff of African stereotypes. On and on, Ferry started about how Deng "has got some African in him" and proceeded to make a comparison to Africans with phony facades selling counterfeit goods." Did Ferry actually compare him to Africans with phony facades, as stated here? Or is this another (mis)interpretation of the actual discussion as when we were told Ferry described Deng as a two-faced liar and cheat? "Marched ...into...ignorant riff" and "on and on" definitely imply (actually more than imply) that Ferry said many more things about Africans and African stereotypes. Even if you accept the store owner as an African stereotype (I don't) what were his other comments and why were they not included here? Perhaps Woj left them out because he thought he included enough material to get his point across, have Ferry removed from his position and felt no need to publicly flay Ferry and further inflame racial tensions in Atlanta. But that does not seem to be the press's modus operandi. If he isn't holding back information, then he is taking Ferry's (or a scout's) "African" and "store owner" comments and intentionally misrepresenting them as part of a larger "riff" that went "on and on". Which is important. Because two comments are more likely to have a less sinister explanation than a diatribe against Africans, as the story suggests.

I think it is critical to note that this incident was thoroughly investigated by an Atlanta law firm. The investigation was so thorough that it delved into an email from 2 years ago that led to the team's majority owner selling his share of the team. Adam Silver said this was the correct resolution. But Silver and the team's CEO - who know the true facts of this case - decided that Danny Ferry, the GM, should not lose his job. It would have been much easier for them to state that Ferry needed to step aside, facts be damned. They are both highly regarded and both have much to risk showing any support for Ferry. From CBS Atlanta "Koonin says that he “exceeded the punishment recommended by the law firm” hired to investigate this. This law firm consists of one of the top civil rights lawyers in the country." So obviously the law firm did not believe Ferry should be fired. This support from those who know the facts gives me reason to believe that Ferry's discussion has been misrepresented. Unfortunately for Ferry, I believe the damage may be done, regardless of the truth.

As an additional note, former NBA GM Wayne Embry and current NBA agent Bill Duffy have both spoken out in support of Ferry at a time when it would be very easy to remain quiet. Embry, the NBA's first African American GM plainly stated that "Danny Ferry is not a racist".

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First of all, I didn't see any real need for Adam Silver should to be commenting on this matter. If the team deems that they feel that the substance and form of his words are out of bounds with the Hawks culture and will deter from what they want to do as an organization, they have every right to let Ferry go. I'd imagine that Ferry is an at-will employee.

Second, listen to this audio from the meeting so you can listen to Ferry talk about Lu's "deficiencies"("he's not perfect, he also has some African in him") It is completely absurd.
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/audio-hawks-gm-racist-comment-luol-deng-surfaces-article-1.1937107
And listen to the speakers in the background. They have enough sense to know that his comments were completely out of bounds.

Lastly, Ferry is probably not a racist, but he used EXTREMELY poor judgement in the situation. And, when you hear the audio, it doesn't even seem like Ferry is just simply reading off the paper, he seems to passionately agree with the opinions in the report.

muzikfrk75
09-11-2014, 09:52 PM
This has been a really educational thread.

Exactly.

The audio tape erases any doubt.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 09:57 PM
Exactly.

The audio tape erases any doubt.

I never had any doubt to erase. Ferry pointed out a potential flaw as he strongly advocated in favor of signing Deng. Who was harmed?

Jim3k
09-11-2014, 10:05 PM
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First of all, I didn't see any real need for Adam Silver should to be commenting on this matter. If the team deems that they feel that the substance and form of his words are out of bounds with the Hawks culture and will deter from what they want to do as an organization, they have every right to let Ferry go. I'd imagine that Ferry is an at-will employee.

Second, listen to this audio from the meeting so you can listen to Ferry talk about Lu's "deficiencies"("he's not perfect, he also has some African in him") It is completely absurd.
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/audio-hawks-gm-racist-comment-luol-deng-surfaces-article-1.1937107
And listen to the speakers in the background. They have enough sense to know that his comments were completely out of bounds.

Lastly, Ferry is probably not a racist, but he used EXTREMELY poor judgement in the situation. And, when you hear the audio, it doesn't even seem like Ferry is just simply reading off the paper, he seems to passionately agree with the opinions in the report.

The above is a clipped link which leaves out whatever fair context there might be. A longer version is here (http://m.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-hawks/2014/sep/11/exclusive-audio-tape-hawks-conference-call/). Even it may not be enough to set the proper atmosphere.

Duke_92
09-11-2014, 10:18 PM
I never had any doubt to erase. Ferry pointed out a potential flaw as he strongly advocated in favor of signing Deng. Who was harmed?

In listening to the tape I don't see how Ferry is advocating for Deng. He seems to spend more time describing multiple character flaws (describing Deng giving two different stories to reporters, acting differently with players and coaches, complaining about bobble head dolls). It would have been enough to say he's not a strong leader and moved on with it. I realize we are missing some context but Ferry would have had to say a number glowing things to balance out his critique of Deng's character. As a Native American guy, I'm rarely surprised by racism but I guess I still held out some hope for mutual respect between members of the Duke basketball family. Maybe that was overly optimistic. I still hold out hope that K wouldn't have described Deng in those exact terms.

lotusland
09-11-2014, 10:23 PM
The above is a clipped link which leaves out whatever fair context there might be. A longer version is here (http://m.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-hawks/2014/sep/11/exclusive-audio-tape-hawks-conference-call/). Even it may not be enough to set the proper atmosphere.

If I'm Deng I'm way more embarrassed that everyone is now learning that he was concerned about his bobble head being selected last. He can thank Gearon for that. I wish someone would insult me by saying that I'm "absolutely worth $20 Million."

lotusland
09-11-2014, 10:28 PM
In listening to the tape I don't see how Ferry is advocating for Deng. He seems to spend more time describing multiple character flaws (describing Deng giving two different stories to reporters, acting differently with players and coaches, complaining about bobble head dolls). It would have been enough to say he's not a strong leader and moved on with it. I realize we are missing some context but Ferry would have had to say a number glowing things to balance out his critique of Deng's character. As a Native American guy, I'm rarely surprised by racism but I guess I still held out some hope for mutual respect between members of the Duke basketball family. Maybe that was overly optimistic. I still hold out hope that K wouldn't have described Deng in those exact terms.

http://sports.yahoo.com/news/an-exclusive-look-at-hawks-gm-danny-ferry-s-fateful-phone-call-180253404.html

Around the discussions between the Hawks and Deng, several sources told Yahoo that within the basketball operations, Ferry was Atlanta's biggest proponent to sign Deng.

Troublemaker
09-11-2014, 10:37 PM
Per Zach Lowe, (https://twitter.com/ZachLowe_NBA/status/510224968253046784) Billy putting in a good word for Danny:


King on Ferry: “I have known him since we were 15 years old. He is like a brother to me and he is the furthest thing from a racist.”

Also, Toronto GM Masai Ujiri's very good, level-headed take: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/masai-ujiri-weighs-in-on-the-danny-ferry-controversy/article20558085/

Excerpts:


R.C. Buford is the GM of the San Antonio Spurs. He was one of the first NBA executives to come to our Basketball Without Borders camps a decade ago. That same year, he adopted a young man from Cameroon. Wayne Embry is an adviser for our team. Forty years ago, he was the first African-American GM of an NBA team.
Both of these men, whom I trust so much, are close to Danny. They have nothing but great things to say about him. The league is a small world. Other people I’ve spoken to who know Danny well say that he has never done anything they’ve seen to suggest he holds racist views.

Danny’s mistake will remain tied to him for a long time. What he’s said can’t be unsaid, but we must measure his heart. If he has made an honest, isolated error, we should forgive and move on.

Troublemaker
09-11-2014, 11:17 PM
Exactly.

The audio tape erases any doubt.

Not sure how an audio tape can erase doubt about whether Danny was repeating from scouting reports in front of him. A video tape might.

It doesn't matter, anyway. By not immediately condemning the scouting report, Danny gave tacit acceptance to the remarks therein.

Big mistake by him. But, by all accounts from people close to him, an isolated mistake. The Hawks also hired a law firm to review all emails and documents, and apparently, Danny was clean.

We can forgive him one mistake. Every single person reading this post right now has, at some point in their lives, said something similarly insensitive. If Luol were reading this post, it would be true of him as well. Just be thankful we weren't recorded when we made our mistakes.

Des Esseintes
09-11-2014, 11:37 PM
Not sure how an audio tape can erase doubt about whether Danny was repeating from scouting reports in front of him. A video tape might.

It doesn't matter, anyway. By not immediately condemning the scouting report, Danny gave tacit acceptance to the remarks therein.

Big mistake by him. But, by all accounts from people close to him, an isolated mistake. The Hawks also hired a law firm to review all emails and documents, and apparently, Danny was clean.

We can forgive him one mistake. Every single person reading this post right now has, at some point in their lives, said something similarly insensitive. If Luol were reading this post, it would be true of him as well. Just be thankful we weren't recorded when we made our mistakes.

This. Ferry made a colossal, disgraceful error, but nothing we have seen suggests it is anything other than anomalous. While I really disagree with those who find it anything short of deeply reprehensible on his part, either as an original statement or as a glibly repeated and unrefuted scouting report, none of us is above mistakes. Maybe he'll keep his job, and maybe he won't. Ultimately, that's less a matter of what he "deserves" and more what the Atlanta Hawks franchise decides it cares to bear in terms of headlines. But he deserves to remain an honored member of the Duke family.

cato
09-11-2014, 11:55 PM
If I'm Deng . . .

If there is one thing we have established, it is that you are not Luol Deng.

Reilly
09-12-2014, 05:02 AM
... Ferry made a colossal, disgraceful error ... anomalous ... deeply reprehensible on his part ... he deserves to remain an honored member of the Duke family.

In the story of the prodigal son -- if I'm remembering correctly -- the son makes colossal, disgraceful, deeply reprehensible errors that are not anomalous, and seems to have a "conversion" borne of self-interest, yet remains an honored member of the family. I can only imagine the moral superiority the other brother was posting. Linking this to the other national sports conversation of the day, Steve Bisciotti has talked in recent days how he still loves Ray Rice yet had to enact tough love and sever ties. There are differences between loving and honoring, I guess, and what's the best way to set examples for others to try to bring about more overall goodness in the world or your own little corner of it.

My view of the humans I know is that we make colossal, disgraceful, reprehensible errors all the time (of thought, of desire, in our hearts and minds ... lesser in action or word but those still exist for us all, too). For more than 20 years now, on every official form I have filled out for me or my children, when it asks "Race" I check "Other" -- and if given an option to explain, I write "Human" (and have to avoid the temptation to write "Indy 500" or "Kentucky Derby"). So, I "get it." And when I drive to and from work, nearly every day folks of every stripe make death-defying forays into my path, and I sound like Archie Bunker.

I had Spanish with Danny Ferry at Duke. I did not detect a racist or xenophobic inkling in him, though we were studying a foreign language and culture. I did detect a lack of intellectual curiosity, given he and Quin showed up only on quiz and exam days.

HK Dukie
09-12-2014, 07:25 AM
A longer version is here (http://m.ajc.com/weblogs/atlanta-hawks/2014/sep/11/exclusive-audio-tape-hawks-conference-call/). Even it may not be enough to set the proper atmosphere.

Ferry was first favorite Duke player when I was just a kid. I cheered him on in the NBA and when the became GM of my own hometown Hawks I was delighted. He has done a great job in bringing the Spurs philosophy to Atlanta which is the only way a mid market city with fans who show up only when it suits them to win.

But if I were the new owner I would either let him go or ask him to resign. The comments on the audio honestly seem more from Ferry himself than from the scouting report. The general concept of deception from Deng is clearly in the scouting report. However, Ferry makes it clear that "I SAY this" and he uses "I" twice. Thus I believe the African comments are from him. In the court of law there is no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt one way or another. But if im that new owner I'm thanking Danny for doing a great job at continuing to get to the playoffs every year after shedding horrible contracts when no one expected it and hiring a great coach and changing the mindset from blowing your stack of cash to instead going after value. Then I ask him to leave, pay him 50% of his remaining salary, to protect my new business interests.

Given a law firm has checked all of Ferry's emails over the past two years and couldn't find ANYTHING else negative about him, it's clear to say he is not habitual in his language slip ups. I still think Ferry is a great individual, player, GM, but after hearing the audio and the context I am swayed by those calling for him to go. And this sucks, because Gearon is really a foul person and got his revenge on Levenson and Ferry.

Sad sad day, not the least of which is people now assuming all these things are true about Loul who even if he was the source for stories to the press is such a positive role model in the NBA.

lotusland
09-12-2014, 07:34 AM
If there is one thing we have established, it is that you are not Luol Deng.

Now you've hurt my feelings. Congratulations Mr. Meanie offender.

Troublemaker
09-12-2014, 08:12 AM
The comments on the audio honestly seem more from Ferry himself than from the scouting report. The general concept of deception from Deng is clearly in the scouting report. However, Ferry makes it clear that "I SAY this" and he uses "I" twice. Thus I believe the African comments are from him.

The African stereotype is very likely contained in the scouting report, imo. After Levenson receives Gearon's coercive email that specifically mentions the storefront analogy, Levenson would've asked Danny to explain himself. Since Danny's explanation was that he was repeating from scouting reports, he would've had to produce the scouting report as proof. It's almost impossible to believe Levenson and the Hawks would've allowed Danny a press release to excuse himself using the scouting report if (a) the scouting report didn't exist and (b) it didn't contain everything inappropriate mentioned in the coercive letter by Gearon, who was essentially threatening to release the audio if Danny weren't fired. Which is basically what has now happened.

Also, MY amateur forensic audiology analysis of the tape was that Danny's numerous pauses and "ummms" were completely consistent with him reading from scouting reports and summarizing the contents for the listeners on the conference call.

_Gary
09-12-2014, 09:25 AM
But if I were the new owner I would either let him go or ask him to resign.

And if that happened I'd say it's a darn shame. EVERYONE makes mistakes. EVERYONE. Unless we really do want this country to becomes so PC that "Thought Police" aren't just a joke, but a reality, I'd hope it doesn't come to Danny being fired. This wasn't said in front of an open mic and meant for the masses. This was said in a back room for the purposes of analysis (of Deng as a potential Hawk).

In a way this goes back to the Mark Cuban comments: Slippery Slope. That's what concerns me most with these type of situations. If a man is willing to say "I'm sorry", and has no other history of such comments, I hate the idea of throwing him under the bus in the name of "PC" this or what-have-you that.

lotusland
09-12-2014, 09:36 AM
And if that happened I'd say it's a darn shame. EVERYONE makes mistakes. EVERYONE. Unless we really do want this country to becomes so PC that "Thought Police" aren't just a joke, but a reality, I'd hope it doesn't come to Danny being fired. This wasn't said in front of an open mic and meant for the masses. This was said in a back room for the purposes of analysis (of Deng as a potential Hawk).

In a way this goes back to the Mark Cuban comments: Slippery Slope. That's what concerns me most with these type of situations. If a man is willing to say "I'm sorry", and has no other history of such comments, I hate the idea of throwing him under the bus in the name of "PC" this or what-have-you that.

Alas a fellow traveler on this strange planet. I'm afraid we appear as strange to the natives as they to us.

I might add that I hope Danny's future in Atlanta is short lived. Reading the tea leaves he seems to have sufficient support and admiration within the league to keep his job or move to another front office in the league. Given the rift in the Atlanta ownership and one remaining owner's open hostility toward him, it can't be a good fit for him to remain especially since his ally in ownership is leaving. Here's hoping Danny lands in a better place and Karma catches up with Mr. Gearon in short order.

flyingdutchdevil
09-12-2014, 09:45 AM
Obviously, what Ferry said was wrong. I get it. There really is no way to justify his actions. He screwed up.

But everyone is throwing that Ferry "is a racist". That he said "racist comments". Really? Since when is Africa a race?

The stereotype that Ferry said is insensitive, potentially xenophobic, and highly inappropriate in a business setting, but where is a racist remark? Isn't this the equivalent of saying that Tiesto is super cheap because he's Dutch, or Francois Holland smells terrible because he's French, or Andrew Bogut is a violent criminal because he's Australian? Isn't coupling "African" with "black" somewhat ignorant?

Ferry made a huge mistake, but he isn't racist.

cspan37421
09-12-2014, 09:52 AM
Forgive me for not reading the entire thread, if this was already addressed ...

Given that Gearon wanted Ferry out anyway, isn't it interesting that he just happened to be recording the phone call? In his letter to Levenson, it was to said to be recorded to make notes so the partners who couldn't participate live would be informed. If we had the whole transcript or recording, we might know whether he announced his intent in advance or not. Now, Georgia (assuming the call was in Georgia) does not appear to have a law requiring all party consent to recording. Still, it seems possible that Ferry didn't know ... and if he had known, he might have been extra careful in conveying the negatives in the scouting report on Deng.

And again - who was the source of the scouting report? Could some of those negatives have been planted, just so Ferry could be recorded conveying them in a conference call? [Granted, it's a bit conspiracy-minded, but you know, there are a lot of sneaky things going on in our country that would have been declared "tin foil hat" territory 10 years ago that we now know to be true thanks to a contractor who has had to seek refuge in Russia, of all places. This NBA stuff is big money, interested people don't always play nice.]

Duvall
09-12-2014, 09:54 AM
If I'm Deng I'm way more embarrassed that everyone is now learning that he was concerned about his bobble head being selected last. He can thank Gearon for that.

And yet Deng chose to issue a statement that mildly rebuked Ferry's comments without mentioning Gearon's actions. But if you want to explain to Deng what he should or should not find embarrassing, I'm sure you can get a letter to him via the Miami Heat.

Owen Meany
09-12-2014, 09:56 AM
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First of all, I didn't see any real need for Adam Silver should to be commenting on this matter. If the team deems that they feel that the substance and form of his words are out of bounds with the Hawks culture and will deter from what they want to do as an organization, they have every right to let Ferry go. I'd imagine that Ferry is an at-will employee.

Second, listen to this audio from the meeting so you can listen to Ferry talk about Lu's "deficiencies"("he's not perfect, he also has some African in him") It is completely absurd.
http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/audio-hawks-gm-racist-comment-luol-deng-surfaces-article-1.1937107
And listen to the speakers in the background. They have enough sense to know that his comments were completely out of bounds.

Lastly, Ferry is probably not a racist, but he used EXTREMELY poor judgement in the situation. And, when you hear the audio, it doesn't even seem like Ferry is just simply reading off the paper, he seems to passionately agree with the opinions in the report.




My post was before the new audio came out. It was basically a call to wait until the facts come out before condemning Ferry, because this situation "may be more complex than it appears on the surface". I never suggested the Hawks couldn't fire Ferry. The Hawks decided that Ferry shouldn't be fired. It doesn't matter why Silver spoke out, whether he should have, etc. But he did after being apprised of the details of a thorough investigation that "went through 24,000 documents, conducted 19 interviews and read "every email Danny Ferry has ever sent as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks. [and found] no other negative information on Ferry." The fact that he said Ferry shouldn't be fired, did, given his history, the Sterling-aftermath, etc. - give me hope that this situation was being misrepresented.

I explained why I felt Gearon's take on the meeting (and reports repeating it as fact) should not be taken at face-value. The audio has confirmed my concerns that Gearon, and the author, had grossly misrepresented the conversation. Ferry didn't describe "the player (and implicitly all persons of African descent) as a two-faced liar and cheat." I didn't hear a "foolish, ignorant riff of African stereotypes" that went "on and on". And I didn't hear Ferry compare him to "Africans with phony facades selling counterfeit goods." Gearon and the author clearly took Ferry's inappropriate, offensive comment about "a little African" and exaggerated them into a full blown diatribe against Africans. So there was reason to withhold any judgement based on their version of this event.

Now more facts are out. Unfortunately for Ferry, the tape in no way exonerates him. Gearon may be manipulative and disingenuous, but that doesn't mean Ferry did nothing wrong. I have no problem with Ferry's comments on the bobbleheads, or about speaking to reporters. I thought the store owner analogy, although strange, was a comment that, although Deng may appear "perfect" he has his own flaws (in no way do I think it was a reference to "Africans...selling counterfeit goods"). Given Ferry's other comments (good guy, not perfect, good for culture) and the fact he was purportedly Deng's biggest advocate (and offered him a $40 million contract) I think it is reasonable to assume these comments were part of the due diligence you perform before committing millions of dollars to a player.

The problem lies with the "has a little African in him". Without this phrase, I think the entire conversation was, while not flattering, not terribly negative. But its there. And it doesn't sound like it was read from someone else's notes. I still don't understand what he meant. But its clearly inappropriate. Its not the extended diatribe against Africans that we read about. Its only a few words. But it has real implications. He does say it directly before he gives the store owner analogy. While I don't think the analogy itself was race related, its very different applying it to an individual than an entire group. Furthermore, it appears that while Ferry is summarizing what he has gathered from other sources - he is doing so in his own words (not reading comments directly). This doesn't help his cause.

It seems that the Hawks handled things well. As Koonin said "there was a process" to determine appropriate punishment. The process was thorough and serious. So much so that it resulted in the owner selling his share of the team. This leads me to believe that this was totally out of character for Ferry and that the punishment chosen was appropriate (particularly since it would have been much easier to ask Ferry to resign). Those with information decided this was not a mistake Ferry should lose his job for.

Unfortunately, this information is now public, which changes things. Loul Deng has been embarrassed. Hawks players will have to answer awkward questions. Most of the public will remember the intentionally exaggerated account of Gearon and be unable to view this as an isolated screw up in a long, controversy-free career. Ferry will be severely hampered in performing his duties. Koonin and Silver, who stood by Ferry when they could have much more easily asked him to step aside, will be criticized. So while Ferry may have deserved a punishment less than losing his job for his mistake - he may now need to step aside so others aren't hurt.

Ironically, I'm not sure Gearon comes through this unscathed either. He sure didn't seem sensitive to racial concerns when he responded to the email that led to Levenson resigning. And he doesn't appear appalled by Ferry's comment as he claims. To me he sounds delighted. "This will be on TMZ" and laughing. I find it curious that Gearon had this portion of the tape, but "the rest of the recording was lost". I think its likely it wasn't flattering to Mr. Gearon or it would not have disappeared. Articles have made it clear he's been manipulative and disingenuous. I read somewhere the league was furious with him. I can't imagine other owners are pleased that the league is further scrutinizing their comments and actions. So I'm not sure what the future holds for him, but I can envision some people deciding the Hawks need to move forward with new ownership.

lotusland
09-12-2014, 09:58 AM
And yet Deng chose to issue a statement that mildly rebuked Ferry's comments without mentioning Gearon's actions. But if you want to explain to Deng what he should or should not find embarrassing, I'm sure you can get a letter to him via the Miami Heat.

I read all your posts in my Eeyore voice or not at all.

CDu
09-12-2014, 10:01 AM
Obviously, what Ferry said was wrong. I get it. There really is no way to justify his actions. He screwed up.

But everyone is throwing that Ferry "is a racist". That he said "racist comments". Really? Since when is Africa a race?

The stereotype that Ferry said is insensitive, potentially xenophobic, and highly inappropriate in a business setting, but where is a racist remark? Isn't this the equivalent of saying that Tiesto is super cheap because he's Dutch, or Francois Holland smells terrible because he's French, or Andrew Bogut is a violent criminal because he's Australian? Isn't coupling "African" with "black" somewhat ignorant?

Ferry made a huge mistake, but he isn't racist.

I think this is kind of splitting hairs. The comments were offensive to a specific group of people. Whether you term those comments "racist" or "xenophobic" or "whatever", they were incredibly insensitive and offensive. Debating the appropriate label for the offensiveness is kind of pointless. What he said was incredibly inappropriate for anyone to say, let alone someone in as powerful a position as he has (especially considering that Africans do make up a not-insignificant sample of employees in this profession). He should know better than to say something that, yet for some reason he did it anyway. And he apparently thought it through enough to go into some detail about it.

I obviously agree with the first half of the last sentence in your post. I'm not sure I have enough information about Ferry to know whether or not he is racist, so I won't comment. I am hopeful that it was just an isolated lapse in judgement on his part, and that it isn't part of his nature in general. But aside from what he's done as a basketball player, I don't know anything about him personally. So I'm going to remain agnostic on any judgment of his character.

But I wouldn't have been at all upset if he got severe punishment for what he said. Getting fired would be a very stiff punishment, but sometimes lessons have to be learned the hardest of ways. He deserves to be reprimanded seriously in some fashion. Hopefully he's learned (or is learning) from his error.

lotusland
09-12-2014, 10:01 AM
Forgive me for not reading the entire thread, if this was already addressed ...

Given that Gearon wanted Ferry out anyway, isn't it interesting that he just happened to be recording the phone call? In his letter to Levenson, it was to said to be recorded to make notes so the partners who couldn't participate live would be informed. If we had the whole transcript or recording, we might know whether he announced his intent in advance or not. Now, Georgia (assuming the call was in Georgia) does not appear to have a law requiring all party consent to recording. Still, it seems possible that Ferry didn't know ... and if he had known, he might have been extra careful in conveying the negatives in the scouting report on Deng.

And again - who was the source of the scouting report? Could some of those negatives have been planted, just so Ferry could be recorded conveying them in a conference call? [Granted, it's a bit conspiracy-minded, but you know, there are a lot of sneaky things going on in our country that would have been declared "tin foil hat" territory 10 years ago that we now know to be true thanks to a contractor who has had to seek refuge in Russia, of all places. This NBA stuff is big money, interested people don't always play nice.]

I think it is commonly accepted that Gearon sabotaged Ferry intentionally. The Yahoo article I linked previously said that League official are furious with Gearon.

cspan37421
09-12-2014, 10:04 AM
In listening to the tape I don't see how Ferry is advocating for Deng. He seems to spend more time describing multiple character flaws .... I realize we are missing some context

We're missing more than context; we're missing the complete tape and/or the complete transcript. There could be a lot that is missing; this was a selective leak by an interested party.

I sure would like to see the scouting report. If it is the origin of the offensive remark, I think it would go a long way toward re-shaping the narrative - and if I were Ferry I'd want to find a way to get it leaked. The report, if he is right, wouldn't exonerate him fully, but his misdeed would be far less serious. It would be a matter of him not being an effective filter, in this instance, rather than him being the source and implied endorser of a negative cultural stereotype.

lotusland
09-12-2014, 10:11 AM
Obviously, what Ferry said was wrong. I get it. There really is no way to justify his actions. He screwed up.

But everyone is throwing that Ferry "is a racist". That he said "racist comments". Really? Since when is Africa a race?

The stereotype that Ferry said is insensitive, potentially xenophobic, and highly inappropriate in a business setting, but where is a racist remark? Isn't this the equivalent of saying that Tiesto is super cheap because he's Dutch, or Francois Holland smells terrible because he's French, or Andrew Bogut is a violent criminal because he's Australian? Isn't coupling "African" with "black" somewhat ignorant?

Ferry made a huge mistake, but he isn't racist.

I'm not familiar with all of your stereotypes. Those must have been omitted from my Xenophobia 101 class. Reading the front page article this morning it did cross my mind that France's basketball team is not likely to put up much of a fight if they meet us in the championship game because well...their French. Oops I did it again!

CDu
09-12-2014, 10:11 AM
We're missing more than context; we're missing the complete tape and/or the complete transcript. There could be a lot that is missing; this was a selective leak by an interested party.

I sure would like to see the scouting report. If it is the origin of the offensive remark, I think it would go a long way toward re-shaping the narrative - and if I were Ferry I'd want to find a way to get it leaked. The report, if he is right, wouldn't exonerate him fully, but his misdeed would be far less serious. It would be a matter of him not being an effective filter, in this instance, rather than him being the source and implied endorser of a negative cultural stereotype.

I don't see how the bolded part can be true. He is giving his appraisal of Deng in this meeting. Even if he is basing it heavily on someone else's scouting report, he's making the sales pitch for Deng. So even if he's just repeating those words, he is by definition endorsing them. So whether he came up with them on his own or he was just repeating someone else's words, he was implicitly endorsing a negative cultural stereotype.

Des Esseintes
09-12-2014, 10:13 AM
Obviously, what Ferry said was wrong. I get it. There really is no way to justify his actions. He screwed up.

But everyone is throwing that Ferry "is a racist". That he said "racist comments". Really? Since when is Africa a race?

The stereotype that Ferry said is insensitive, potentially xenophobic, and highly inappropriate in a business setting, but where is a racist remark? Isn't this the equivalent of saying that Tiesto is super cheap because he's Dutch, or Francois Holland smells terrible because he's French, or Andrew Bogut is a violent criminal because he's Australian? Isn't coupling "African" with "black" somewhat ignorant?

Ferry made a huge mistake, but he isn't racist.

I've heard this sort of idea mooted a couple of times in the thread, and it bewilders me. OF COURSE coupling "African" with "black" is ignorant. But, uh, people who make casual race- and ethnicity-based slurs TEND not to have thought through all the small points of a particular issue.

Li_Duke
09-12-2014, 10:15 AM
I'm not sure if this has been shared, but this was a fantastic piece written by the Toronto GM Masai Ujiri on this.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/basketball/masai-ujiri-weighs-in-on-the-danny-ferry-controversy/article20558085/

Duvall
09-12-2014, 10:17 AM
It seems that the Hawks handled things well. As Koonin said "there was a process" to determine appropriate punishment. The process was thorough and serious. So much so that it resulted in the owner selling his share of the team. This leads me to believe that this was totally out of character for Ferry and that the punishment chosen was appropriate (particularly since it would have been much easier to ask Ferry to resign). Those with information decided this was not a mistake Ferry should lose his job for.

That makes sense. If the Hawks choose to release the internal report, and the report shows that this was an isolated mistake, it would a long way towards preserving or restoring Ferry's reputation in the league.

OldSchool
09-12-2014, 10:20 AM
From USA Today (http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/hawks/2014/09/11/scouts-executives-danny-ferry-racism-atlanta-luol-deng-scouting-report/15449739/):


But a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports that an NBA investigator previously had seen the report and also heard the recording. The person spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the private nature of the investigation. And Silver has acknowledged the existence of the scouting report and referenced its role in the matter as part of his reasoning for not believing that Ferry should be fired.

The implication from this is that the African comment did indeed come from the scouting report.

cspan37421
09-12-2014, 10:27 AM
I don't see how the bolded part can be true. He is giving his appraisal of Deng in this meeting. Even if he is basing it heavily on someone else's scouting report, he's making the sales pitch for Deng. So even if he's just repeating those words, he is by definition endorsing them. So whether he came up with them on his own or he was just repeating someone else's words, he was implicitly endorsing a negative cultural stereotype.

I beg to differ.

I listened to the recording and, while I agree it did not sound like he was reading verbatim from a report, it did sound to me like he was just putting what others said in his own words ... not much of what he said sounded like personal opinion - only a little, and not the stuff in question at all. He sounded like a guy who was repeating stories that he was told. IIRC he does wrap it up with something like "given all that, do I think he's worth it? yes." But it came across to me like his info and analogies were largely outsourced. JMO.

Does that make it an implicit endorsement? That strikes me as a little strong, esp. since we don't have the full tape. He may have distanced himself from the the source(s) at another moment conveniently not passed along to A. Wojo by Gearon. He may have commented on reliability, accuracy, or biases of the sources. We don't know. I'll reserve judgement until we have the whole tape ... if we ever do.

CDu
09-12-2014, 10:39 AM
I beg to differ.

I listened to the recording and, while I agree it did not sound like he was reading verbatim from a report, it did sound to me like he was just putting what others said in his own words ... not much of what he said sounded like personal opinion - only a little, and not the stuff in question at all. He sounded like a guy who was repeating stories that he was told. IIRC he does wrap it up with something like "given all that, do I think he's worth it? yes." But it came across to me like his info and analogies were largely outsourced. JMO

I disagree, but that doesn't matter. Even if he was just repeating what others have said, he could have repeated stories he was told without saying "he has a little African in him", and then saying what that meant. Even by simply repeating those words, he was tacitly accepting them as meaningful. Thus, he was implicitly endorsing them.

When your job is to make recommendations for a player, it is also your job to filter out the noise and say what matters. And by say "he has a little African in him" as a negative, he was implicitly promoting whatever negative stereotype what being presented. He could have EASILY avoided the issue by simply saying whatever questionable character issue was there, and not applied the issue to Africans in general. Instead, he deliberately chose to use those words, and in doing so he is guilty of promoting that negative stereotype.

Does that make him a bad guy? No. But the reality is that, in presenting the arguments for and against Deng, he chose not to edit out the unnecessary and very offensive blanket statement about Africans. Whether they were his words or not, by saying them in a formal presentation like that, he is endorsing them.

g-money
09-12-2014, 11:19 AM
I've heard this sort of idea mooted a couple of times in the thread, and it bewilders me. OF COURSE coupling "African" with "black" is ignorant. But, uh, people who make casual race- and ethnicity-based slurs TEND not to have thought through all the small points of a particular issue.

And yet, If Ferry had instead said "The problem with Dirk is that he has a little Euro in him", I doubt we would have the uproar that we have now. People probably would've laughed.

It's complicated.

flyingdutchdevil
09-12-2014, 12:00 PM
I've heard this sort of idea mooted a couple of times in the thread, and it bewilders me. OF COURSE coupling "African" with "black" is ignorant. But, uh, people who make casual race- and ethnicity-based slurs TEND not to have thought through all the small points of a particular issue.

I think there is a huge distinction between the two, and it sounds like you may agree with me. Statements like "Americans are really loud when they travel" and "Brits can't cook to save their lives" are insulting, but they are as far from racism / racially bigotry in my book.

Deng's race, IMO, had nothing to do with Ferry's comments. Deng's culture and country did. I think it's a big distinction that has gotten overlooked. I don't think it changes the story nor the punishment, but Ferry is being branded as something that he is not.

The media is lumping cultural stereotypes and racial stereotypes together (and most likely because racially insensitive stories gain more headwind than culturally insensitive ones).

OldSchool
09-12-2014, 12:04 PM
And yet, If Ferry had instead said "The problem with Dirk is that he has a little Euro in him", I doubt we would have the uproar that we have now. People probably would've laughed.

It's complicated.

"Dirk is all about German precision," Cuban went on. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1925160-how-dallas-mavericks-star-dirk-nowitzki-is-defying-time-odds-this-season)

flyingdutchdevil
09-12-2014, 12:15 PM
"Dirk is all about German precision," Cuban went on. (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1925160-how-dallas-mavericks-star-dirk-nowitzki-is-defying-time-odds-this-season)

And I would put the Dirk comment in the same category as Ferry's comments (obviously not on the same scale. What Ferry said was terrible and culturally insensitive. Cuban's comment was complimentary) and not in the category of a racist comment.

Northern Africans, who have significantly lighter skin that sub-Saharan Africans, have many of the same stereotypes that Ferry named.

One aspect of Ferry's comment is the way that he phrased it. "[Deng] has a little African in him". I wonder if Ferry said, "Deng has a few African tendencies..." would this be as big a deal?

Des Esseintes
09-12-2014, 12:25 PM
And I would put the Dirk comment in the same category as Ferry's comments (obviously not on the same scale. What Ferry said was terrible and culturally insensitive. Cuban's comment was complimentary) and not in the category of a racist comment.

Northern Africans, who have significantly lighter skin that sub-Saharan Africans, have many of the same stereotypes that Ferry named.

One aspect of Ferry's comment is the way that he phrased it. "[Deng] has a little African in him". I wonder if Ferry said, "Deng has a few African tendencies..." would this be as big a deal?

YES. The whole point, as others have said, is suggesting that "African" and "duplicitous" are synonyms. And if you don't think there is a racial component when someone speaks casually of Africans, if you think "he has a little African in him" is intended to encompass Afrikaners and the former power structure of Rhodesia, then you have not been encountering the same people I have who speak casually of Africans.

OldSchool
09-12-2014, 12:30 PM
And I would put the Dirk comment in the same category as Ferry's comments (obviously not on the same scale. What Ferry said was terrible and culturally insensitive. Cuban's comment was complimentary) and not in the category of a racist comment.

Northern Africans, who have significantly lighter skin that sub-Saharan Africans, have many of the same stereotypes that Ferry named.

One aspect of Ferry's comment is the way that he phrased it. "[Deng] has a little African in him". I wonder if Ferry said, "Deng has a few African tendencies..." would this be as big a deal?

If you're going to reference national or ethnic stereotypes it's much safer to be complimentary. If Cuban said "Dirk aggressively drove the lane like the German Army taking Poland" that would undoubtedly be considered offensive. (It would also be offensive because Dirk has never aggressively driven the lane!)

flyingdutchdevil
09-12-2014, 12:36 PM
YES. The whole point, as others have said, is suggesting that "African" and "duplicitous" are synonyms. And if you don't think there is a racial component when someone speaks casually of Africans, if you think "he has a little African in him" is intended to encompass Afrikaners and the former power structure of Rhodesia, then you have not been encountering the same people I have who speak casually of Africans.

This same stereotype can be attributed to parts of Latin America, parts of Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, and parts of Africa. I have heard this "two-faced" comment that Ferry about many different cultures. The underlying factor? That's up for discussion, but it doesn't merely apply to Africans.

And you're last point is a good one. I think that phrasing brings out the racism of the comment, not the cultural stereotype.

If we are merely speaking of the stereotype, I don't see the racist undertones. If it's the "little African in him" comment, then I agree there are racist undertones.

flyingdutchdevil
09-12-2014, 12:37 PM
If you're going to reference national or ethnic stereotypes it's much safer to be complimentary. If Cuban said "Dirk aggressively drove the lane like the German Army taking Poland" that would undoubtedly be considered offensive. (It would also be offensive because Dirk has never aggressively driven the lane!)

Could not agree more. But Cuban wouldn't be racist, he'd be xenophobic / culturally insensitive.

Des Esseintes
09-12-2014, 01:19 PM
This same stereotype can be attributed to parts of Latin America, parts of Asia, parts of Eastern Europe, and parts of Africa. I have heard this "two-faced" comment that Ferry about many different cultures. The underlying factor? That's up for discussion, but it doesn't merely apply to Africans.

And you're last point is a good one. I think that phrasing brings out the racism of the comment, not the cultural stereotype.

If we are merely speaking of the stereotype, I don't see the racist undertones. If it's the "little African in him" comment, then I agree there are racist undertones.

I remember reading an article several years ago about the hostility and racism directed toward Asian Russians by the white Russian majority. The article mentioned a hateful commercial that had aired on behalf of one of the ultra-right-wing political parties. In the commercial, a couple of conspicuously unemployed, somewhat overweight Central Asian men are sitting on a curb. An attractive blonde walks by, and they leer disgustingly at her. So far, unremarkable. Any country with a white power structure on Planet Earth has some bigot embroidering a similar cartoon attacking the race or ethnic group associated with that country's underclass right now. But here's what amazed me: the two dudes sitting on the curb are eating watermelon. Watermelon! We are truly in an age of bigotry without borders when an insult that would seemingly be intelligible only in the American South can be translated without comment to the former USSR. Incredible.

All of which is to say that while "two-faced" may be a slur all over the world against all sorts of cultures, it only proves that bigotry has a fairly limited palette from which to work.

Duvall
09-12-2014, 02:23 PM
An Atlanta TV station obtained the scouting report. (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/12/LuolDeng.pdf) It does look like Ferry was paraphrasing the comments from some source in Cleveland, which is reassuring. Still poor judgment of Ferry's part to pass it along, but it's better than if it were his own sentiments.

This guy from the Cleveland front office seems like a charmer, though.

theAlaskanBear
09-12-2014, 02:50 PM
An Atlanta TV station obtained the scouting report. (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/12/LuolDeng.pdf) It does look like Ferry was paraphrasing the comments from some source in Cleveland, which is reassuring. Still poor judgment of Ferry's part to pass it along, but it's better than if it were his own sentiments.

This guy from the Cleveland front office seems like a charmer, though.

Thanks for the source Duvall, this makes me feel a lot better about Ferry.

Owen Meany
09-12-2014, 03:10 PM
An Atlanta TV station obtained the scouting report. (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/12/LuolDeng.pdf) It does look like Ferry was paraphrasing the comments from some source in Cleveland, which is reassuring. Still poor judgment of Ferry's part to pass it along, but it's better than if it were his own sentiments.

This guy from the Cleveland front office seems like a charmer, though.


This is pretty unbelievable. I purposely refrained from an early judgment because the situation seemed off - it just didn't make sense Ferry would make the comment, didn't fit in with other comments, Ferry wanting to sign him, etc. And Gearon is clearly untrustworthy and duplicitous. That's why I wanted to hear the context of the comments. After hearing the tape, I really didn't think Ferry was quoting others. This report makes it clear that Ferry was jumping around in the larger report.

I'm sure he will be criticized for repeating the comment, but if you read the report you will see he actually "cleaned" the comment up, making it less objectionable. Its just a guess, but I can very well see a situation where Ferry had earlier been stating Deng's positives (it was reported earlier he was Deng's biggest proponent, and he prefaced his comments by saying he's not perfect) and here he was quickly presenting a few of the negatives he had heard by jumping to that section in his report and thoughtlessly repeated the African part. Would this be careless and thoughtless? Yes. But it fits right in with the description of the "impatient GM forced to address the minority owner he didn't like on a Friday afternoon" scenario that was presented before.


I said before it was interesting that the rest of the Gearon's tape was "lost". Now I would really like to hear it, because it didn't just disappear without reason. I think it is very likely that Deng was discussed in more positive terms earlier in the meeting. And perhaps it was even clear at some point that Ferry was reading from notes. I would bet that the legal firm who investigated this event interviewed the other participants in this call. I would be interested in their take on the rest of the meeting. People should now demand Gearon produce the rest of his tape, just as they insisted Ferry should produce his notes.

Des Esseintes
09-12-2014, 03:13 PM
An Atlanta TV station obtained the scouting report. (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/news/documents/2014/09/12/LuolDeng.pdf) It does look like Ferry was paraphrasing the comments from some source in Cleveland, which is reassuring. Still poor judgment of Ferry's part to pass it along, but it's better than if it were his own sentiments.

This guy from the Cleveland front office seems like a charmer, though.

Man, do I hate it that LeBron went back to Cleveland. That franchise, from its predatory loaning owner down through its rewarded-for-serial-incompetence front office history, its apparently racist scouting department, and its beyond childish and vengeful fanbase, is just awful. It's a real statement about the cesspool that is the American sporting scene that the Cavs aren't even in the conversation for Most Unlikable Franchise.

cspan37421
09-12-2014, 03:16 PM
Thanks for the source Duvall, this makes me feel a lot better about Ferry.

Knowing that the "a little African in him" comment / thought didn't originate with Ferry makes me feel better about Ferry's attitude toward players from other cultures (and by association, black players). However, unless he disowned it more forcefully than we've heard on the recording ("not in a bad way"), it makes me feel a little worse about him as a GM, to have picked up this thought and phrasing so ... cavalierly. If one of his jobs was to integrate all the pro/con stories he heard about Luol, he should have come up with a more professional synthesis in his own words, and when quoting someone, make it clear he was quoting them.

I gave him too much credit before for sounding like he was putting what others said into his own words. It looks to me now that he didn't do enough of that - let alone serving as a filter and realizing "Whoa, I think I know what that guy means but I can't put it in those terms."

If his conference call performance was a college paper he'd be at risk for a plagiarism charge.

Again, depending on what we have not yet heard.