Former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young believes Danny Ferry should keep his job as general manager of the Atlanta Hawks.
Ferry has been away from the team after he took a leave of absence in September when his recorded comments about Luol Deng, an African-American player who was a free agent at the time, were made public.
Asked by Atlanta station WSB-TV whether Ferry should lose his job, Young said, “Hell, no.”
Young said he doesn’t believe Ferry is a racist.
“No more than I am,” Young said. “That’s a word that you cannot define, ‘You are a racist.’ You can’t grow up white in America without having some problems. You can’t grow up black in America without having some subtle feelings.”
Ferry was recorded as saying on a conference call last summer that Deng was a player who “has a little African in him. … He’s like a guy who would have a nice store out front and sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back.”
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has served as head of basketball operations and assistant general manager Wes Wilcox has also helped with some of Ferry’s duties during his absence.
The team did not comment on Young’s remarks Tuesday.
The Hawks are having a banner season, posting a 43-11 record before the NBA All-Star break that included a 19-game winning streak. They lead the Eastern Conference standings by 6 1/2 games over the Toronto Raptors.
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