Gedvydas Vainauskas, president of Lithuanian professional basketball team BC Lietuvos Rytas, has sparked controversy after attributing his team's struggles to having too many black players, according to FIBA.com writer Simonas Baranauskas.
"We've always held a stance that there shouldn't be more than two black players on the team," Vainauskas said. "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."
According to Baranauskas, the site that aired the video (which is owned by Vainauskas) edited out the comments and re-uploaded the video, but the original video (in Lithuanian) can still be seen on Facebook.
Vainauskas issued a statement regarding the incident, and it is published on the team's website:
"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 of 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."
BC Lietuvos Rytas players with NBA connections include Drew Gordon -- a former UCLA and New Mexico player and brother of Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon -- and Arturas Gudaitis, a 2015 second-round draft pick of the Philadelphia 76ers.