Hawks players speak out about racially charged controversy surro - CBS46 News

Hawks players speak out about racially charged controversy surrounding team

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The Atlanta Hawks may be coming off a season that saw them nearly knock off the Eastern Conference's number one seed in the NBA playoffs, and they may be about to embark on what could be an even better season, but Monday at the Hawk's Media Day, most of the questions asked directed to players centered on the racial controversy surrounding the organization.

"I got a chance to meet with Danny Ferry and I don't condone or agree with the language that he used," said Hawks Center Al Horford.

Horford is talking about the racially offensive language Hawks General Manager Danny Ferry used during a conference call with team owners and personnel. Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence as a result of his comments. Many Hawks players said they forgive him.

"When I met with Danny, he was very remorseful and he understood what he had done and he's trying to move forward and make it right," said Horford.

"I don't think he is a racist. I think you can't define a person by one mistake and I think that is what he did. He made a mistake. He understands it was a mistake and as a society we can't just define Danny Ferry by one mistake," said DeMarre Carroll, Hawks forward.

Both players and team officials say they are ready to move on and focus on the season.

"If you continue to look backwards you never can see the blessings in front of you and I honestly believe that. I am not one that is going to keep looking backwards. The only thing I care about is how we continue to grow as a franchise," said Dominique Wilkins, Hawks VP or Basketball Operations.

Hawks President and CEO Steve Koonin is leading efforts to repair the damage created by the racially charged controversy.

"We will be announcing some new initiatives in the next few days. We will be building courts and we are reducing 1500 tickets to $15 to honor the 15th anniversary of Phillips Arena for every game, the Lebron game, the Kobe game, every game. We are doing that to be more inclusive," Koonin said.

Koonin also said Tuesday morning senior executives with the team will be undergoing intensive diversity training.

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