Atlanta: Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry is taking an indefinite leave of absence over racial comments he made in a team meeting with the NBA club`s top officials.
Ferry, who has since apologized and said he was reading comments from one of the team`s scouting reports, has come under fire over racially charged comments he made about player African-born Loul Deng during a conference call with Hawks ownership and management in June.
Atlanta chief executive Steve Koonin said Friday that Ferry requested an indefinite leave of absence after making remarks. Head coach Mike Budenholzer will take over the operations of the team.
The leave of absence comes one day after an audio surfaced of the June 6 team call.
Speaking to Hawks` management and owners in a conference call, Ferry says of Deng: "He`s a good guy overall but he`s not perfect. He`s got some African in him, and I don`t say that in a bad way other than he`s a guy that..."
At that stage someone in the room -- apparently Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon -- interrupts Ferry and says: "That`s going to be on TMZ tonight."
Ferry continues talking about Deng: "He has a nice store out front that`s beautiful and great but he may be selling some counterfeit stuff behind you."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver told USA Today newspaper Tuesday that he does not think Ferry should be fired for the remarks during a team meeting.
Silver says Ferry was reading a report on Deng as the team was analyzing potential free agents to sign.