NBA investigating allegations of bigoted remarks, racially-charged threat made by Utah Jazz vice president

The Utah Jazz said in a statement they are cooperating with an NBA investigation into former guard Elijah Millsap's allegations that executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey made racially-charged threats during an exit meeting at the end of the 2014-15 season.

“The Jazz organization has zero tolerance for discriminatory behavior of any kind,” the team said in a statement Thursday. “We take these matters seriously. We have proactively engaged outside counsel to work in coordination with the NBA to thoroughly investigate this matter. We seek a comprehensive and unbiased review of the situation.”

In a series of tweets posted on Wednesday evening, Millsap accused Lindsey of making “bigot remarks” during his exit interview that included Jazz coach Quin Snyder. Millsap alleged that one of Lindsey’s remarks included saying, “‘If you say one more word, I’ll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana.”

Lindsey told Salt Lake City reporters, “I categorically deny making that statement." 

Dennis Lindsey, left, talks with then-Dallas Mavericks assistant coach Melvin Hunt (now an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks) on Oct. 30, 2017. (Photo: Russell Isabella, USA TODAY Sports)

“Honestly, I don’t remember the conversation, but I’d be shocked,” Snyder said following the Jazz’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. “I can’t fathom Dennis saying something like that.”

Millsap played with the Jazz in the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. Lindsey is in his second season as the Jazz’s executive vice president of basketball operations after serving the previous seven seasons as the team’s general manager.

Nearing the end of the 2018-19 season, Lindsey was bothered when a Jazz fan directed inappropriate comments at Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook during a Jazz-Thunder game in Salt Lake City.

In a raw and emotional interview with USA TODAY Sports, Lindsey said, “Like Pop (San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich) said, we have to talk about our national sin. "People may say, 'Hey, whatever, what the fan said was a small thing.' Well, it's not. What it does is make everyone feel small, and every Caucasian should take a look at themselves and look at their heart."

Lindsey grew up in Clute, Texas, the son of parents who supervised group homes for disadvantaged youth. Lindsey and his family sometimes lived in those multi-racial homes.

"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,” Lindsey said in 2019. “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."

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