ATLANTA, Ga – A franchise once under fire for alleged front-office racial insensitivity has been given a prestigious award for its diversity efforts.
The Atlanta Hawks were presented with the Best Diversity Campaign or Initiative award during the 3rd annual Cynopsis Social Good Awards in New York. The award was presented on March 2, 2017 for the club’s “Unity Weekend” initiative during the 2016-17 season.
The award recognizes an agency, network, brand, or corporation’s commitment to racial, ethnic, religious and gender diversity.
In June 2014, then-Hawks general manager and president of basketball operations Danny Ferry read aloud an offensive comment in a scouting report on Luol Deng, then a member of the Miami Heat. Ferry was asked to take an immediate and indefinite leave, and eventually left the team, even though a subsequent investigation made clear the language was not Ferry’s own.
During the weekend of events which ran from Oct. 7-10, Hawks employees volunteered more than 1,000 hours of service to local community non-profits and were the only Atlanta professional sports team with a dedicated float in the city’s PRIDE Parade.
The weekend culminated with the first ever “Unity Game” between the Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The starting lineup of each team was introduced in alternating fashion, and during the National Anthem players and coaches stood with locked arms in a display of unity. The teams asked everyone in Philips Arena to link arms.
The Hawks also received honorable mentions for the Best Spot (Over 30 Seconds) for its “True to Atlanta” public service announcement and Philanthropic/Human Rights Campaign categories, both of which highlight the Hawks Foundation’s Court Renovation Project.
The initiative pledges to build or revamp 25 public basketball courts in the metro Atlanta area over a period of five years. To date, eight courts have been completed, increasing access to play for more than 600,000 local residents.
The 90-second spot was directed by Atlanta-based Matt Bunting and features local government officials, community advocates, educators, team executives and players discussing the impact of the project.
Cynopsis Media, a division of Access Intelligence, is the publisher of six free trade publications for the television, media, digital, and sports TV industries.