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BY Abena Agyeman-Fisher, 6:15pm September 12, 2014,

After Danny Ferry’s ‘Little African’ Audio Release, Manager Takes Leave of Absence

Danny ferry

After a week of controversy over his “a little African in him” remarks about South Sudanese Miami Heat player Luol Deng (pictured below), Atlanta Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry’s comments have been released on audio, prompting him just a few short hours later to announce that he is taking a leave of absence.

RELATED: Miami Heat’s Luol Deng Responds To ‘Little African’ Comments from Hawks Manager

When the news hit that Ferry had referred to Deng as having “a little African in him,” confusion Luol Dengerupted over what the odd reference could fully mean. On Friday, though, listeners got the full context of Ferry’s remarks.

Speaking about Deng, Ferry said, “He’s a good guy overall, but he’s not perfect, he has a little bit of African in him, and I don’t mean that in a bad way, per se, other than….”

At that point, someone interrupts his remarks, saying that his comments could end up on news site TMZ.  Still, Ferry continues, implying that because Deng has “a little African in him” he would go behind his team’s back and give anonymous quotes to reporters and then lie and say it wasn’t him.

Listen to the exchange yourself here at 1:17:


Read Luol Deng’s full controversial scouting report here.

As Face2Face Africa reported, it was Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. who taped Ferry’s comments and brought it to the attention of the team’s Majority Owner.

Face2Face Africa reported:

While Ferry allegedly made the statement – along with other comments — that Deng has “a little African in him,” Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. reportedly caught the statements on tape. He then presented the quotes in a letter to Majority Owner Bruce Levenson, calling for his resignation.

Once Ferry’s alleged comments became public, 29-year-old Deng, whose family fled South Sudan for Egypt during the Sudanese civil war and then was granted asylum in the U.K., defended his heritage, saying, “For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength,” he said.

“Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can do 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.”

By Friday afternoon, the news broke that Ferry, who initially said he would not resign due to his comments, announced that he would indeed be taking an indefinite leave of absence:


Then Ferry released the following statement:

No words can adequately describe my remorse for the hurt that I have caused many people through the statements I repeated, most importantly Luol Deng.

Luol is a good man who I have known for many years and he has done a tremendous amount of good for his country and around the world. I apologize to Luol and I apologize to all that I have offended. As I have said, while these were not my words, I deeply regret repeating them.

Almost all the background information I provided during the lengthy presentation regarding Luol was positive and my personal and professional recommendation during the call was very much in favor of adding Luol to our team but I never should have uttered those offensive remarks and for that I apologize.

My focus moving forward is to tirelessly work to rebuild trust with this community and with our fans. I realize that my words may ring hollow now and my future actions must speak for me.

I will maximize my time during this leave to meet with community leaders and further educate myself and others on the extremely sensitive issues surrounding race, diversity, and inclusion. I will find a way to make a positive difference in this area, and further learn from the sensitivity training that I will go through.


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RELATED: Toronto Raptors’ GM Masai Ujiri Asks What ‘A Little Bit of African’ Means



Last Edited by:Abena Agyeman-Fisher Updated: June 19, 2018


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