07-06-2018, 07:28 AM
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry took an indefinite leave of absence Friday, making the move under fire for his racially charged comments about a player. Brayden McNabb Jersey . Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has resisted calls for Ferry to be dismissed, but said the 47-year-old GM asked for the leave. "My hope that this time away from the Hawks organization allows him the privacy he needs to listen to the community, to learn about his mistakes, and to begin the long process of personal healing," Koonin said in a statement. Ferry issued his own statement, saying he plans to undergo sensitivity training and meet with local leaders. He gave no indication that he plans to step down. "My focus moving forward is to tirelessly work to rebuild trust with this community and with our fans," he said. Ferry made an inflammatory assessment of Luol Deng during a conference call with the Hawks ownership group in June as the team was pursuing the free agent. The GM described Deng as someone who "has a little African in him." "Hes like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back," Ferry said on the call, which was recorded. Deng, who was born in what is now South Sudan, signed with the Miami Heat but didnt know if Ferrys comments until this week. Deng said he was proud of his African roots, while adding he was "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." Koonin said Ferry was disciplined for his comments, but refused to disclose the punishment. Both Ferry and Koonin have said the GM was merely repeating statements made by others in scouting reports on Deng. Former NBA great Magic Johnson is among those who have recommended that Ferry step down. An internal investigation into Ferrys comments uncovered an unrelated email sent two years ago by the teams controlling owner, Bruce Levenson, who theorized that black fans were keeping suburban white fans from attending games. Levenson said he was embarrassed by what he called an ill-advised attempt to improve the teams attendance and that he intends to sale his share of the Hawks. The whole affair has been another embarrassment to the NBA, which only last month forced Donald Sterling into selling the Los Angeles Clippers after he was heard on secretly recorded conversations with his girlfriend asking that she not to bring African-Americans to his games. Steve Ballmer bought the Clippers for a record $2 billion. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who quickly issued a lifetime ban against Sterling, said he supported Levensons decision to sell the Hawks but doesnt think Ferry should lose his job. "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," Ferry said in his statement. "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 favour of adding Luol to our team, but I never should have uttered those offensive remarks and for that I apologize." Ron Klempner, acting executive director of the NBA Players Association, said the union was "pleased to learn that Ferry acknowledges his statements were offensive, has extended a personal apology to Luol Deng and the other Atlanta Hawks players, and that the Hawks organization has determined that discipline of Ferry was warranted." After listening in on the conference call, co-owner Michael Gearon Jr. sent a letter to Levenson recommending that Ferry resign or be fired. That led the team to hire a law firm to investigate the matter, which led to the discovery of Levensons email. Koonin said Ferrys comments were "deeply troubling" but added that the matter was exasperated by discord among the ownership group, presumably referring to Levenson and Gearon. "At the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners," Koonin said. "That said, we have taken several steps to address what we can do as an organization to be better and stronger, including working with a diversity consultant to examine us and to train us to ensure something like this never happens again." Koonin said the team plans to hire a "chief diversity officer" and will consult with community leaders, though a scheduled meeting this week with civil right activists was cancelled by the team. Coach Mike Budenholzer will take over as the head of basketball operations during Ferrys absence, reporting directly to Koonin. The Hawks, who have made the playoffs seven years in a row, have largely assembled their expected roster for this season. Ferry has been credited for his efforts to overhaul the team and build a culture modeled on reigning NBA champion San Antonio, where he worked before joining the Hawks in 2012. Two of his most lauded moves were dumping the big-money contracts of Joe Johnson and Marvin Williams. Now, Ferry is fighting for his future with the team. "I realize that my words may ring hollow now and my future actions must speak for me," he said. "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." There is other important business, as well, "The process of selling the team, which is to remain in Atlanta," Koonin said, "is already underway." Adidas Golden Knights Jerseys . With the players association in the midst of meetings in Las Vegas, a vote will be held on Friday to decide the CFLPAs presidency and other executive positions. Paul Thompson Jersey . On the day after Billy Horschel posted his 12th straight round in the 60s, won his second straight tournament against a world-class field and picked up an additional $10 million bonus as the FedEx Cup champion, Watson was kicking back in his seat at a Kansas City Royals game. http://www.goldenknightshockeyshop.com/m...ey-jersey/ . Wearing bib No. 1, Maze skied through the gates cleanly to defend her big first-run lead and finish 0.07 seconds ahead of Anna Fenninger of Austria. Defending champion Viktoria Rebensburg of Germany was third, trailing 0.Uniondale, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Tuukka Rask made 43 saves, Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith tallied three points each and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Thursday. Lucic and Smith each had a goal and two assists to help Boston win for the seventh time in its last nine games. Patrice Bergeron, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins. The Islanders got goals from John Tavares and Michael Grabner but had a two- game winning streak snapped. Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 32 shots. With just 3.4 seconds to go in the second period, Halak made a crucial mistake handling the puck. Miller knocked down Halaks weak clearing attempt at the blue line, and he wasted no time ripping a shot on goal that beat Halak to break a 2-2 tie. We didnt play a 60-minute game, but I thought we played well enough to win the game, said Islanders coach Jack Capuano. Obviously, the third goal was the turning point. Boston did not even need two minutes in the third period to extend its lead to two. With traffic in front of the net, Krugs wrister from the blue line found its way to the back of the net for his 10th goal of the season. Rask stopped all 14 third-period shots from the Islanders, and Lucics 10th goal of the season on an empty net sealed the win. In the third period, we found that game again that was so good for us in the first, said Bruins coach Claude Julien. The Islanders controlled play early, but the Bruins lit the lamp first. Calvin Pickard Jersey. Smith drove to the net, and Lucics pass from the boards went between a defenders legs to Smiths stick where he redirected the puck past Halak. Just two minutes later, Boston got its first power play of the game and cashed in. Bergeron skated down from the blue line with the puck and used nifty puck-handling to create a shooting lane before wristing a shot off the post and into the net. It took a tremendous individual effort from Tavares to finally beat Rask in the second period. From center ice, Tavares chipped the puck in the air toward Rask, and the goalie could not handle it cleanly. Tavares skated through the defense and backhanded the puck in for New Yorks first goal of the game. Grabners fifth goal of the season tied the game later in the period. Johnny Boychuk held a clearing attempt in the zone, and Grabner deflected Boychuks wrist shot past Rask. Game Notes Tavares has scored in four straight games and has four goals and five assists in a five-game point streak ... Boychuks assist was his 100th NHL point ... Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy played in his 300th consecutive game ... New Yorks Frans Nielsen lost his five-game point streak ... Each team has won a game on the road in the season series which concludes on Feb. 7. 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