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A complete timeline of the Atlanta Hawks' front-office controversy

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The Atlanta Hawks' front office is under fire for two different racially charged comments. Here's a timeline that's cost owner Bruce Levenson his team and GM Danny Ferry his job, for now.

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Hawks general manager Danny Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence in the wake of the racially charged controversy surrounding the team. Ferry came under fire for offensive remarks he repeated from a scouting report about Luol Deng on a conference call with the Hawks' ownership group.

Meanwhile, majority owner Bruce Levenson plans to sell the team after a racially insensitive email he sent to other members of the organization two years ago was discovered during an investigation triggered by Ferry's comments.

Let's take a look at a timeline of this ongoing saga in Atlanta.

Aug. 2012

Levenson pens an email to the recently hired Ferry and other members of the Hawks' ownership group complaining about the team's poor attendance. In the email, Levenson speculates that an "overwhelming black audience" may have "scared away the whites" and that there aren't enough wealthy black fans to build a strong base of season ticket holders. Levenson also laments the high number of black cheerleaders, the abundance of hip-hop music at the games and even the fact that "the kiss cam is too black," among other racially insensitive comments.

June 6, 2014

The Hawks hold a conference call to discuss free agent targets. On the call are Ferry, Levenson, co-owners Michael Gearon Jr. and Sr., Ed Peskowitz, Todd Foreman and CEO Steve Koonin. During the call, Ferry repeats some offensive remarks about Luol Deng from a scouting report. This includes a comment about how Deng has "some African in him."

June 12, 2014

After meeting with Atlanta lawyer and judge William Hill to discuss concerns about Ferry's comments, Gearon Jr. emails Levenson and calls for the owner to fire the general manager or force his resignation, according to Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

June 16, 2014

At a meeting at Gearon's office, it's revealed that Levenson has begun an independent investigation of the situation. Levenson has hired the law firm Alston & Bird to conduct the investigation, and all the people involved should check their servers for any documents that contain issues of race. In the coming days, Gearon discovers the email Levenson sent in Aug. 2012 and Levenson condemns the email Gearon sent on June 12, stating that Gearon's allegations "trigger for me serious questions about our partnership."

July 2014

The Hawks pursue Deng in free agency, but he winds up signing a two-year, $20 million deal with the Miami Heat. Levenson self-reports his racially charged email to NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Sept. 2014

Silver meets with several owners and high-ranking league officials to discuss Levenson's situation. This ordeal comes right on the heels of the ouster of Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banished from the league for racist comments.

Sept. 7, 2014

Levenson announces that he plans to sell his majority stake in the Hawks due to the insensitive email he sent in Aug. 2012. Levenson apologizes for the email and Silver releases a statement commending him for taking responsibility for the situation.

Sept. 8, 2014

Wojnarowski's initial report about Ferry's comments goes public. Ferry maintains that he was reading off a scouting report compiled from numerous people around the NBA and Koonin says the team has privately punished him. Wojnarowski reports that Ferry apologized to Hawks players and coaches and reached out to Deng and his agent.

Sept. 9, 2014

Wojnarowski releases a partial transcript of the conference call, which includes Ferry expounding on the initial "African" comment. A comparison is made to Africans with "phony facades selling counterfeit goods" that implies Deng sometimes talks out both sides of his mouth. Deng releases a statement that expresses pride in his African heritage while denouncing the offensive remarks.

Sept. 10, 2014

Silver tells USA Today's Sam Amick he doesn't believe Ferry should be fired for his comments, suggesting the Hawks' internal discipline was enough.

Sept. 11, 2014

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution releases the audio recording of Ferry's remarks during the conference call. Gearon is heard in the background saying the comment reminds him of Sterling's words and could end up on TMZ.

Sept. 12, 2014

The Deng scouting report is released by WSB-TV in Atlanta, revealing that the offensive remarks came from a former member of the Cleveland Cavaliers' front office. Ferry takes an indefinite leave of absence, releasing a statement that apologizes to Deng for repeating the statements made in the offensive scouting report. Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer will take over basketball operations for the time being and report to Koonin.