Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry is in hot water for repeating racial slurs while reading a scouting report on Luol Deng, yet NBA Commissioner Adam Silver came out today saying Ferry should not be at-risk for losing his job. Conversely, Sterling was at the front of the line in working hard to eliminate Donald Sterling as an NBA owner for his racist comments (eventually succeeding), and while these situations may not be mirror images of one another, they sure seem more similar than different. In both cases very clear racist remarks were made, yet Ferry gets a free pass while Sterling got buried?
Regardless of whether Ferry was the person who originated the comments or simply read them back to a room of people, terrible judgement was exercised. In fact, Ferry’s comments are in my opinion worse than Hawks owner Bruce Levenson, who many felt (including NBA great Kareem Abdul Jabbar) were more business-focused (on diversity, ironically) than they were racist toward blacks. Still, Levenson is selling his team, while Ferry just gained support from the NBA Commissioner — does this add up to you?
It appears as though Danny Ferry must have a very good relationship with Adam Silver, as there really is no other way to make sense of Silver’s immediate rush to support Ferry while countless others are calling for his job (including other Hawks personnel). In fact, even Luol Deng, the focus of Ferry’s off-color remarks, didn’t seem too pleased by what Ferry said, making it even that much more puzzling why the Commissioner would quickly come to support Ferry.
There are a lot of inconsistencies with respect to how the NBA is viewing what is racist, as well as who should remain part of the NBA family versus who should be booted. Hopefully more standardized ways of thinking will prevail in the future where similar punishments will be doled out for similar crimes.