By Rob Hamilton

The Atlanta Hawks today have announced that GM Danny Ferry will be taking an “indefinite leave of absence”. The move comes after the public release of the audio of Ferry reading the controversial comments on a conference call from a scouting report.

Earlier today the AJC announced that it does in fact have a copy of the report that Ferry was reading from and that those were indeed the words in the report, therefore they were not Ferry’s words. However, the release of that information was not enough to keep Ferry in his position for now.

The word first came from ESPN’s Darren Rovell:

Rovell also Tweeted that the Hawks have created a new position called a Chief Diversity Officer. As of this writing, as far as we have been able to tell, no one has been hired for that position yet.

Following is the Press Release issued by the Atlanta Hawks moments ago:

ATLANTA, GA ––  The following statement was released by CEO Steve Koonin:

“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.”

This all follows the release of information about comments read aloud by Ferry on a conference call and an email that majority owner Bruce Levenson sent Ferry two years ago. Read more about that here…