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Elijah Millsap Discusses Making Racism Allegation Toward Jazz's Dennis Lindsay

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistApril 2, 2021

Utah Jazz's Elijah Millsap in action during an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, March 6, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Former Utah Jazz guard Elijah Millsap said he stands by his allegation Dennis Lindsey, the team's executive vice president of basketball operations, made a racist remark during his exit interview in 2015. 

In February, Millsap detailed a conversation with Lindsey, who was the Jazz's general manager at the time, and head coach Quin Snyder that became heated and led Lindsey to allegedly say, "If you say one more word, I'll cut your Black ass and send you back to Louisiana."

Lindsey denied making the comment, "I categorically deny making that statement," he told Sarah Todd of the Deseret News; Snyder said he'd never heard that type of language from Lindsey.

"I've never heard anything remotely close to that from Dennis," Snyder said. "I haven't heard anything, like I said, remotely close to that and know him and his character. And I also think that if something like that were ever said, I'm sensitive to those issues and I would remember it."

The NBA announced March 15 it completed an investigation into the matter and was "unable to establish that the alleged statement was made."

Millsap told David Aldridge of The Athletic in an interview released Friday he decided coming forward with the story was the right thing to do despite the potential impact on his basketball career:

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"It's one of those divine timing things, where you just know it's right to do. I'm ready to be free from it and accept what comes from it. I felt like it's a perfect time. The way America is right now, we're subjected to being put in a class, a class of people. There's right and there's wrong. And so if I don't stand up and say this was wrong, I'm on their side, subliminally, not openly. I know I have to live with it. I want to help move this country forward, with my story. By all means. If it costs me my career, I guess so be it."

Millsap explained his relationship with Snyder was open and honest, which led to some contentious conversations. That popped up again during the exit interview when they discussed what he felt were "petty" character issues. He says that's when Lindsey made the comment.

The Louisiana native returned to the Jazz for the start of the 2015-16 season before getting waived in January 2016. He struggled to generate interest from other teams and told Aldridge his agents said the Jazz didn't provide a positive review when called by other organizations:

"It wasn't one of those situations where I got busted for drugs, or I was beating up my girlfriend, or I got put to jail or anything like that. You mean to tell me that people are staying away from me because of nails in the locker room? What are they telling them? What are they really seeing? That was my question to my agents: Do they not see what happened after the All-Star break? Do they not see what happened once I got called up? What are they telling other teams? I was asking my agents, and they basically didn't have many answers outside of the situations that happened in Utah. Utah, they're not saying good things about you."

Millsap went on to play in Israel, the Philippines, Spain and the NBA's G League after getting let go by the Jazz. He also made two appearances with the Phoenix Suns during the 2017-17 season.

Now 33, he hasn't played professionally since 2019 and isn't sure what his on-court future holds. He told Aldridge he's worked with the National Basketball Players Association on plans to record exit interviews between players and key members of the organization to avoid any future issues.

"People are not the type of people that's going to admit to certain things like this," Millsap said. "But I can't make this s--t up. And I wouldn't."

Lindsey, the Jazz and Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap, Elijah's brother who played for Utah from 2006 through 2013, all declined to comment for The Athletic story, while the NBA referred back to its previous statement about its investigation.

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