Speaking with reporters on Friday at Heat Media Day, forward Luol Deng said he hoped to turn the racially sensitive comments made by Hawks general manager Danny Ferry "into something positive."
Deng signed with the Heat this offseason after LeBron James left for the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Deng will be an important player this season for a team that has reached four straight NBA Finals. But instead of talking about how he will fit into the Heat's system this season, Deng spoke at length on Friday about the offseason controversy caused by Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry, who disparaged Deng with some racially charged comments during a meeting with Hawks executives.
"I do forgive them," Deng said of the Hawks. "It's not something that I want to hold onto for the rest of my career or my life."
In a player evaluation during the meeting, Ferry said Deng was "a good guy, but he's not perfect. He’s got some African in him. I don’t say that in a negative way."
Ferry later took an indefinite leave of absence from the Hawks after the comments were made public.
"I don't think Danny is racist," Deng said.