Danny Ferry: not a racist

Mr. Danny Ferry, General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks, is being slandered for his involvement in the racist scandal that surfaced in early September. However, the accusations made against Ferry are not accurate.

“He’s a good guy overall… but he’s not perfect. He’s got 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 out the back.”

The racist comments released about basketball player Luol Deng are credited as Ferry’s own words, when in reality, these comments belong to a scout for the Hawks, not to Ferry. The media has publicized that Ferry spoke these words of his own accord, which is true, but they are not Ferry’s personal thoughts and feelings towards any basketball player. Even though these words are not Ferry’s own, it still does not make the situation okay. Ferry should have reprimanded the scout and made it clear that the Hawks would not reference players in that sort of manner.

Many articles about Ferry have been written, including one for the Bi-Line in last month’s issue. I have chosen to write a column about the Hawks situation because I know Ferry and his family personally, and this situation truly bothers me. I am close friends with Ferry’s daughter because we have swum together for the past few years. Seeing this scandal evolve and impact her family has allowed me insight and facts about the situation that are not available to many others, especially not to reporters. Reading quotes from my classmates in last issue’s article as well as other quotations in the news bothers me greatly because I know that Ferry is not a racist and never has been a racist. Ferry has played basketball his whole life, playing for Duke and in the NBA for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Ferry has never had a racist incident prior to the Hawks scandal, and I do not believe that he should be portrayed as a racist, particularly because those comments were not his own words.

As sports fans, writers, and readers, we need to remember that what is publicized is not always the truth. This goes not only for sports but also for the majority of media related professions (politics, entertainment, etc.). Organizations and public relations try to release what will look best for their cause and help them the most. In this case, having Ferry come forward and admit his mistake was best for the Hawks in terms of keeping fans, players, and righting their wrongs. It makes sense for Ferry to take the blame, but at the same time it is frustrating to see the trouble it has caused him and his family. That is the part that the public does not see.

Since the incident, Ferry has been suspended from his position as General Manager. It is unsure whether or not he will return to his position at this point. The issue lies with Ferry’s decision not to change the comments referencing Deng, not Ferry’s “own” racial remarks. Someone had to take the heat for the situation and since Ferry is the face of the Hawks, he is the one who must publically deal with the incident. I hope that in the future, the general public will show more tolerance and understanding of an event that has been unfairly warped by the media.