NBA Commissioner Adam Silver doesn’t believe Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry should be fired. In a recent interview in Barcelona, Silver said Ferry’s comments about Luol Deng were not a “fireable offense.”
Silver seemed to believe Ferry’s ludicrous claim that he was reading a scouting report when he said Deng was “like an [African] guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.” He was basically calling Africans two-faced liars and cheats.
But Silver doesn’t feel the need to investigate who wrote the scouting report and how much of the racist wording was actually on paper. If Silver truly believes Ferry, then he and league officials should investigate scouting reports to see if there are other instances of racism.
Silver moved to shut down Donald Sterling for saying racist things in a private conversation, but he’s suddenly hands-off when it comes to a racist conversation conducted during business meetings. He is not operating from a balanced set of values.
NBA players should be appalled at Silver’s laid-back reaction to Ferry’s comments. What if there are racist scouting reports about LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony or Derrick Rose? The players will not find out if racism lurks behind the scenes if a thorough investigation isn’t implemented by Silver.
But this NBA doesn’t have a Jim Brown or Muhammad Ali-like figure who will stand up and order change. Thus far, no NBA players have said anything to suggest that Ferry should be fired. Former NBA player Magic Johnson is the only prominent figure who has spoken out against Ferry’s words and called for him to be fired or resign.
Black fans should be upset over Silver’s passivity and the high possibility that other NBA owners do not value the black dollar.
Since the Hawks debacle began, Silver has done nothing to assure black players and fans that the NBA values diversity. The Hawks organization has also seemed lost on how to move forward by keeping Ferry around.
On Sept. 10, Hawks CEO Steve Koonin canceled a meeting with civil rights leaders in Atlanta only moments before the scheduled time. It was another slap in the face and seems, once again, that the NBA only has use for black people when they’re dunking a ball.