Former Utah Jazz player Elijah Millsap wrote on Twitter that in his 2015 exit interview from the team, then-general manager Dennis Lindsey made a bigoted comment toward him.
Millsap shared the allegations in a Twitter thread on Wednesday night. He said that bigoted behavior is "still very well present in our country" and wanted to shared the truth to continually empower.
Lindsey denied the claim in a statements, while the NBA has reportedly opened an investigation into the matter at the encouragement of the Jazz.
Millsap: Jazz exec made bigoted comments
Millsap also referenced Jazz head coach Quin Snyder, who would have been at the end of his first season at the time.
"Almost 6yrs ago. On April 16, 2015, D. Lindsey made bigot remarks in my exit interview while conversing with Q. Snyder 'if u say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana,'" Millsap wrote.
Millsap, 33, played for the Jazz in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. After each season ends, players typically meet with coaches and front office executives in an "exit interview" to discuss the season, plans for the offseason and goals to reach for next year.
The Jazz waived the guard/forward on Jan. 5, 2016. He averaged 4.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.4 minutes per game over 67 outings. The following season he played two games for the Phoenix Sun, but has not played in the league since.
He is the younger brother of former All-Star and long-time Jazz player Paul Millsap. Paul was with the organization from 2006 to 2013. He then played for the Atlanta Hawks and now the Denver Nuggets.
Elijah Millsap said on Twitter he is "controlling my narrative" and teaching his sons how to do the same.
"It’s an honor to stand up for what is right in any capacity," he wrote. "...Hundreds of thousands of beautiful black lives massacred for Truth, Freedom, and Justice. Damn right it sticks with you, but with Truth it will never overtake me again."
Jazz' Lindsey denies making statement
Lindsey has denied making the statement. He told the Salt Lake Tribune he "categorically" denies making the statement and told The Athletic he "emphatically" denies it.
Lindsey has been with the Jazz since 2002 and moved from general manager to vice president of basketball operations in 2019.
Snyder was asked about the remarks following Utah's 114-89 win against the Los Angeles Lakers at home on Wednesday.
“Honestly, I don’t remember the conversation,” Snyder said, via the Salt Lake Tribune. “I can’t fathom... I’d be shocked by Dennis saying something like that.”
Rudy Gobert, who has been with Utah since his 2013 rookie season, was also asked about the accusations and said it is the first time he was hearing about it, via Sarah Todd at The Deseret News. He told reporters after the game Millsap was one of the teammates he was closest with and he'll reach out to him to learn more.
Jazz welcome NBA investigation
Millsap's allegations were enough for the NBA to open an investigation into the matter, with the Jazz cooperating, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The Jazz have reportedly retained outside counsel to assist the league, and team officials, including Lindsey, reportedly encouraging a closer look.
One reported point of interest will be the detailed notes taken during the 2015 meeting by Jazz general manager Justin Zanik, then the team's assistant general manager. The notes were reportedly entered into a team database, and league forensic investigators will determine if they have been at all altered.
The Jazz organization has made social and racial justice work part of its mission this season. Jazz players have been vocal about injustices in and out of the state. Earlier this month, Donovan Mitchell called out a local school that was allowing parents to opt their children out of Black History Month education curriculum.
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