By: Scott Davis / Business Insider
(VILNIUS) – Gedvydas Vainauskas, the president of Lithuanian basketball team BC Lietuvos Rytas, is under fire for offensive comments he made in a recent interview.
Vainauskas said that he doesn’t think teams should have more than two black players because “bad things start to take place” when teams exceed that number.
Vainauskas also said that Lieutvos Rytas had signed four black players and they formed “sort of a gang” together.
“We’ve always held a stance that there shouldn’t be more than two black players on the team. What happened was that coach Tomas Pacesas likes to play with black players — to control them, to teach them, to tutor them — and we ended up with four players that are black. All of a sudden, they came together to form … how should I put it … a sort of a gang. It cannot be that way; no more than two black players — I can say that from my 23 years of experience in the business. Teams, don’t ever have more than two black players … (smiles) Because that’s when bad things start to take place.”
Euroleague Basketball issued a statement on Friday denouncing Vainauskas’ comments and saying he will be disciplined.
“Euroleague Basketball wishes to clarify the following: by no means do these words represent neither the sport of basketball, the European basketball family nor the Euroleague Basketball organisation at any level. On the contrary, European basketball has always been and will continue being an example of integration on and off the court, where cultures, races and religions have always come together under one passion, the sport of basketball.”
“A disciplinary proceeding has been opened by Euroleague Basketball against the Club, while it will be proposed at the upcoming 7DAYS EuroCup General Assembly that Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius ceases to represent EuroCup clubs at the Board of the competition.”
Vainauskas also issued a statement on the team’s website attempting to clarify his remarks.
“While talking about the lessons learned during the last season, I had in my mind the situation with foreign players.
“The principal position of BC Lietuvos Rytas is that a basketball player first of all is a professional.
“Unfortunately, a few our foreigners did not meet expectations of the club.
“During the play-offs they acted irresponsibly and that had a great negative impact on our team’s performance. In my interview, I expressed my disappointment about some of the foreign players selected for the season.
“I apologize, if I was improperly understood.”