British basketball star Luol Deng has found himself at the centre of the NBA's latest racism scandal.
Just a month after Donald Sterling was finally forced to sell the Los Angeles Clippers and banned for life from the NBA for racist remarks, another owner, Bruce Levenson of the Atlanta Hawks, has been revealed to have made racist remarks about the team's supporters. Levenson has stepped down and is now seeking to sell the team.
In an email written two years ago, Levenson discussed the differences between black and white fans and how the presence of a majority of black fans was detrimental to the franchise.
The email was addressed to General Manager Danny Ferry; he is also in trouble for a scouting report containing derogatory remarks about Deng's South Sudanese heritage.
The report was not written by the GM but contains quotes from Ferry that say: “[Deng] has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out the back.”
Ferry has since issued a statement that says the comments were not his but something he was repeating.
It read: “In regards to the insensitive remarks that were used during our due diligence process, I was repeating comments that were gathered from numerous sources during background conversations and scouting about different players. I repeated those comments during a telephone conversation reviewing the draft and free agency process. Those words do not reflect my views, or words that I would use to describe an individual and I certainly regret it. I apologize to those I offended and to Luol, who I reached out to Monday mornig.”
Deng, the former Chicago Bull who signed for the Miami Heat this off-season, has now replied (below via Ethan J. Skolnick), saying that he is "proud" to have African in him.
Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has disciplined Ferry but retained him as GM for the time being, despite calls for him to be sacked. Reuse content
Complete Luol Deng statement pic.twitter.com/FojbVFGRO5— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) September 9, 2014