As the situation with Danny Ferry continues to play out, other people in basketball circles have begun expressing their views on Ferry’s character based on their personal interactions with him. This week, Brooklyn Nets general manager Billy King and NBA columnist David Aldridge shared their opinions.
Here’s what we know so far: before the start of free agency, Ferry was on a teleconference call with the Hawks ownership group and said — among other things — that Deng had a “little African in him.” The audio clip was released last night, and as of right now, Ferry remains general manager of the team.
Via Zach Lowe of Grantland, King — who played with Ferry at Duke — went on record to defend his former teammate:
David Aldridge of NBA.com also weighed in on the situation, choosing to distinguish between being abrasive and racist.
Although he asks for understanding with Ferry, Aldridge clearly states he wouldn’t have a problem if Ferry loses his job for his inappropriate comments:
I’ve known Danny Ferry since we were teenagers — me a senior, he a freshman — at DeMatha High School in suburban D.C. in the early 1980s. We have always had a friendly relationship, through his days as a player and as a rising executive after he retired, though I would not call us friends. (He expressed mock outrage a few years ago when I opined to someone that he was one of the “top seven or eight” players — but not higher — who ever played at DeMatha. He then would refer to me as “one of the top dozen or so reporters” who came out of that school.)
Though we’re not friends, I don’t think that you have to be to know something of a person’s character after all those years. And I do not think Danny Ferry is racist. Is he occasionally abrasive? Most certainly. But that is a different character trait. (There are a few GMs around the league that I know who really don’t like Ferry. They’re all white. For what it’s worth.)
But Danny Ferry‘s words could cost him his job, and if they do, I have no problem with that. He will get another one. He is no more entitled to a prime NBA management position than anyone else.
Despite the support, it’s still difficult to imagine a scenario where Ferry can continue on as part of the Hawks organization. When you take into account that minority owner Michael Gearon Jr. reportedly wanted Ferry gone long before this whole incident became public, and the damaging audio clip, it’s hard to envision a future in Atlanta for Ferry.
Even though people like King and Aldridge, as well as former GM Wayne Embry and agent Bill Duffy, have come to Ferry’s defense, it’s obvious — especially on Aldridge’s front — they understand the sensitivity and severity of Ferry’s comments. How all of this plays out in Atlanta and whether Ferry keeps his job remains to be seen.
What do you think?
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