Mark Bradley

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It sure didn't sound as if Danny Ferry was reading

The audio tape did Danny Ferry no favors. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

Maybe you believe that Michael Gearon Jr., one of the Atlanta Hawks' many owners, is waging a campaign to oust Danny Ferry as general manager. Even if we concede that point, we're left with this:

Ferry spoke insensitive words in a business setting about Luol Deng, whom the Hawks were considering for employment. The audio tape obtained by esteemed colleague Chris Vivlamore underscores what Adrian Wojnarowski's review for Yahoo! Sports of a written transcript of the June conference call suggested: It doesn't sound as if Ferry was, as the Hawks have maintained, reading from a background report.

If that was the entirety of the Hawks' defense -- and by "the Hawks," we mean in this case CEO Steve Koonin and Ferry, as opposed to the splinter group of Gearon and the team's other Atlanta-based owners -- the audio tape renders it inoperative. Hearing the tape, it's hard to believe Ferry was speaking words someone else had written. Ergo, it's hard to imagine a scenario in which he remains general manager.

In today's AJC, I wrote a little something essentially wishing the squabbling Hawks would go away and leave us in peace . I doubt that's going to happen anytime soon. (For our sins, we are doomed to these Hawks.) But I do think Ferry, who a week ago I considered the best GM this franchise has had over the 30 years I've worked here, will be leaving soon. I see no way back from this.

Just FYI: On the tape, after Ferry utters the infamous words, "He's got some African in him," you can hear a background voice reacting in apparent incredulity, invoking Donald Sterling's name and saying, "This is going to be on TMZ tonight." That voice is Gearon's.

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About the Author

Mark Bradley is a sports columnist and blogger for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has been with the AJC since 1984.