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Deng responds to Hawks alleged racist comments with personal statement

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As news has surfaced regarding the inappropriate conduct of Atlanta Hawks executives, Luol Deng has released a personal statement that was distributed by the Miami Heat.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

Below is the personal statement, in its entirety, provided by Luol Deng on Tuesday:

"HE HAS A LITTLE AFRICAN IN HIM"

These words were recently used to describe me. It would ordinarily make any African parent proud to hear their child recognized for their heritage.

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 think of 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.

Concerning my free agency, the focus should purely have been on my professionalism and my ability as an athlete. Every person should have the right to be treated with respect and evaluated as an individual, rather than be reduced to a stereotype. I am saddened and disappointed that this way of thinking still exists today. I am even more disturbed that it was shared so freely in a business setting.

However, there is comfort in knowing that there are people who aren't comfortable with it and have the courage to speak up. In the same way a generalization should not define a group of people, the attitude of a few should not define a whole organization or league.

Ultimately, I'm thankful to be with an organization that appreciates me for who I am and has gone out of its way to make me feel welcome.

Maybe there's more to say about the subject but I think this statement perfectly speaks for itself.