09/13/2014 02:33 EDT | Updated 11/13/2014 05:59 EST

Hawks apologize for not fixing racially inflammatory words and innuendos

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Hawks have released an open letter of apology to the team, fans and city of Atlanta, saying the organization "did not do the right thing" to correct racially inflammatory words and innuendos.

The apology, signed by CEO Steve Koonin, was released Saturday, one day after the team announced general manager Danny Ferry was taking an indefinite leave of absence following his racially charged comments about Luol Deng.

Last weekend, co-owner Bruce Levenson announced he will sell his controlling share of the team following the release of his racially inflammatory comments in an email to Ferry and the team's other owners.

Koonin says the Hawks "must own these shortcomings and failures." He says the team will work with a diversity consultant and hire a chief diversity officer.