Miami Heat forward Luol Deng said Friday that he forgives Hawks general manager Danny Ferry for making derogatory remarks about Deng's African heritage.
Deng said he spoke to Ferry and does not think he is racist.
"It's not something I want to hold onto for the rest of my career or the rest of my life," Deng said, according to the Associated Press. "I had a chance to speak to Danny. I really believe that he's really sorry for what he said. Whether it came from him or wherever it came from, I think the main focus really should be how we move on forward."
Ferry reportedly read the comment off a scouting report during a conference call with his ownership group. It is not known who authored the scouting report.
Here is the comment: "He's still a young guy overall," Ferry said. “He's a good guy overall. But he's not perfect. He's got some African in him. And I don't say that in a bad way." Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence from the team.
The reference is believed to have triggered the investigation that led to Hawks majority owner Bruce Levenson's decision to sell his controlling stake in the team.
"There's a lot of things we could do to turn it into a positive," Deng said.
Deng, who was born in Sudan, signed with the Heat this summer after spending the first nine-plus seasons of his career with the Chicago Bulls and part of last season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Atlanta reportedly had interest in signing Deng.
Earlier this month, Deng released a statement on Ferry's comments. The statement read, in part: "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 do 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."