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April 11, 2021

Former Jazz forward Elijah Millsap accuses team executive Dennis Lindsey of bigoted language

SALT LAKE CITY — Former Utah Jazz forward Elijah Millsap has accused executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey of bigoted comments during an exit interview in 2015.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, Millsap, who played two seasons with the Jazz, explained how “bigot behavior is still very well present in our Country and should be exposed and expunged.”

He wrote that during his exit interview following his first season with the Jazz in April 2015, Lindsey made “bigot remarks.” Millsap said that while he was conversing with Jazz coach Quin Snyder, Lindsey told him “if u say one more word, I’ll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.”

Lindsey refuted the accusation, telling media that “I categorically deny making that statement.”

When asked about the exit interview, which occurred nearly six years ago, Snyder said: “Honestly, I don’t remember the conversation. But I’d be be shocked — I can’t fathom Dennis saying something like that.”

The accusation would appear to be out of character for Lindsey. The Jazz executive, who has been with the team since 2012, came out strong against racism after then Oklahoma City guard Russell Westbrook had a verbal altercation with a fan that stemmed from what Westbrook said was racist language. The Jazz organization agreed, banning the fan for life.

Lindsey grew up with parents who supervised group homes for disadvantaged youth. He, at times, lived in those homes, which he told USA Today taught him some profound lessons.

“White, Black, Hispanic, Asian, you name the race, I literally was in a house with 10-12 disadvantaged kids,” Lindsey said in a 2019 article. “The thing I would say to this matter when you live with someone in closer quarters, you realize there’s one race — the human race. That’s what we need to be talking about. That’s our national discussion and we just need to admit where it’s at and where our hearts are. A lot of it is fear and ignorance.”

In that USA Today interview, Lindsey didn’t mince words when addressing systemic racism in America, even calling it our “national sin.”

“It’s a story that’s long overdue, given our climate,” he said. “Let’s just talk about our national sin and how we made a race of people feel a certain way and just listen for a second.”

Millsap tweeted it was “an honor to stand up for what is right in any capacity” and that he is “controlling my narrative, and will teach my sons how to stand up and control their own.”

Millsap continued by saying he was “inspired by the courageous souls who fight for racial equality and social justice daily.”

On Jan. 5, 2016, after playing in 67 games for Utah, Millsap was released by the Jazz.

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