ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A former Lobo basketball star found himself in the middle of an international controversy after the president of his European basketball team got blasted for comments he made about black players.
Gedvydas Vainauskas is the president of a Lithuanian professional basketball team. After a recent television interview hit the air, it had a lot of people, even some former Lobo basketball players, talking.
In the interview, Vainauskas blamed his team’s struggles on having too many “black players.” He said in part, “there shouldn’t be more than two black players on the team.” Then went on to say that the four he had “came together to form … how should I put it … a sort of a gang.”
It just so happens that one of those basketball players on the team is former Lobo Drew Gordon.
“I had been reading his tweets, just checking out his situation. It sounded like they were having difficulty with some parts of the club already,” Alex Kirk said.
Thursday, Gordon tweeted that the comments were “childish” and “ignorant.”
Former Lobo Alex Kirk also played with Gordon for one year when he was a freshman at the University of New Mexico. Now, Kirk plays ball overseas.
“It’s unbelievable and unacceptable,” Kirk said. “We’re over there by ourselves, you know? It’s not like we’re home with a bunch of friends and family where we can just shake things like that off. We’re over there from 9-10 months by ourselves.”
Former UNM basketball star Ruben Douglas also played ball in Europe for nearly 12 years after he graduated. He said playing ball in Europe is nothing like it is in the United States.
“Over there it’s like life or death. It’s not entertainment. They take it real serious,” Douglas said.
Duouglas said he wasn’t shocked by what the president of the team said and he understands why American players would want to hang together while living in an another country.
“You can’t just blame four guys. Just because they share a culture, maybe they just feel comfortable because they’re not with their families, their girlfriends, significant others and kids,” Douglas said.
The president of the team did apologize, saying he meant to say he had a problem with the “foreign” players, not just black players.