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Luol Deng hits out at racist remarks from Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry

Luol Deng has hit back at Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry for perceived racially insensitive comments about the Miami Heat center.

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Remarks made by Ferry in a conference call in June become public this week following the publication of a letter from Hawks' minority owner Michael Gearon Jr. to controlling owner Bruce Levenson.

In the letter, Gearon called for Ferry to be fired for his description of Deng in a discussion with the owners about the Hawks' free agent options.

Ferry said that Deng "has a little African in him. Not in a bad way, but he's like a guy who would have a nice store out front but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back".

Furthermore Ferry also referred to his scouting report that described Deng as "two-faced".

Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has since stated that Ferry, who has personally apologised to Deng, has been disciplined but will not be fired.

However, Deng " born in South Sudan before moving to the United Kingdom as a child " has now publicly issued his retort.

In a statement Deng said: "I'm proud to say I actually have a lot of African in me, not just 'a little.' For my entire life, my identity has been a source of pride and strength.

"Among my family and friends, in my country of South Sudan and across the broader continent of Africa, I can think of no greater privilege than to do what I love for a living while also representing my heritage on the highest stage. Unfortunately, the comment about my heritage was not made with the same respect and appreciation.

"Concerning my free agency, the focus should purely have been on my professionalism and my ability as an athlete. Every person should have the right to be treated with respect and evaluated as an individual, rather than be reduced to a stereotype.

"I am saddened and disappointed that this way of thinking still exists today. I am even more disturbed that it was shared so freely in a business setting.

"However, there is comfort in knowing that there are people who aren't comfortable with it and have the courage to speak up. In the same way a generalization should not define a group of people, the attitude of a few should not define a whole organisation or league.

"Ultimately, I'm thankful to be with an organisation (the Heat) that appreciates me for who I am and has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome."

Koonin is running the Hawks team operations while the NBA organises the sale of the franchise after Levenson reported himself to the league for sending a racist e-mail to Ferry regarding the make-up of their fanbase in 2012.

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