Sources: Atlanta Hawks parting ways with GM Danny Ferry

Sources have confirmed to FOX 5 that the Atlanta Hawks will part ways with exiled team president/general manager Danny Ferry, months after a racially insensitive audio tape involving Ferry became public.

The sources say NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer will become the team's president and remain as head coach.

The moves comes days before the NBA's Board of Governors will consider approving the sale of the team to a new ownership group, led by Tony Ressler.

In Budenholzer's second season season as coach, the Hawks had the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference with a 60-22 record and made the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in team history.

After the racially insensitive audio tape about free agent Luol Deng became public last September, the Hawks placed Ferry on an indefinite leave of absence that lasted through the season. An internal Hawks investigation led to the NBA forcing majority owner Bruce Levenson to sell the team, and Ferry ultimately being separated from day-to-day front office duties.

On September 19th, Ferry issued 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."


CEO Steve Koonin released the following statement shortly after Ferry issued his statement:

"This afternoon, Danny Ferry requested, and I have approved, taking an indefinite leave of absence, effective immediately. This has been an incredibly difficult time for him and his family and it is 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. As a human being, manager and friend, I wish him well as he undergoes this process.

While the issues related to race are deeply troubling, at the heart of this dispute is an unfortunate disagreement amongst owners. 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, we are committed to hiring a Chief Diversity Officer, and we have and will continue to meet with community leaders in an ongoing way to ensure our values reflect the community in which we play and work. The process of selling the team, which is to remain in Atlanta, is already underway.

Effective immediately, our Head Coach, Mike Budenholzer, will assume oversight of the basketball operations department. He will report directly to me.

I am deeply saddened and embarrassed that this has put a blemish on our team and our city, which has always been a diverse community with a history of coming together as one. We should build bridges through basketball, not divide our community or serve as a source of pain."


 
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