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Stan Van Gundy goes off on Donald Trump
Detroit Free Press

Most people who are aware of the Detroit Pistons are also aware of Coach Stan Van Gundy and his ease with which he engages in politics.

So it should be no surprise that he has written an op-ed for Time in which he voices his support for the NFL Players Coalition, calling the athletes who have followed the lead of quarterback Colin Kaepernick in taking a knee during the singing of the national anthem patriots in their effort to protest inequalities and injustices they see happening in the U.S.

Van Gundy writes: “I do not claim to be an expert on race in America. But in addition to working to be an informed citizen and learning about the issues that derive from race, I have been coaching for about 20 years in the NBA, a league that is 75% black.

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“I have been in a unique position to hear from players and staff members about the issues they and their families have had to encounter.

“In a time where bigotry seems on the rise and commitment to racial equality on the decline, I have an obligation as a citizen to speak out and to support, in any way possible, those brave and patriotic athletes who are working to bring change to our country. I believe all of us do.” 

The coalition of players such as  Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins and retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin are are involved in community activism and seek league support.

He is one of few coaches who works for an owner, Tom Gores, who also stands behind the protests and players. 

At a press conference in September, after listening to President Donald Trump call for the firing of players who took a knee during the anthem, he quit talking about basketball and read from a note: 

“While it is unfortunate our current president has made the national anthem a divisive issue, the positive is we are now talking about some very important problems,” he began. “There are serious issues of inequality and injustice in this country … I stand with those opposing such bigotry.”

When the Women’s Convention came to Detroit, Van Gundy and his wife, Kim, made “a notably large” contribution to the event’s Crowdrise fund, Women’s March co-founder Bob Bland said at the time.

Kim Van Gundy said the personal donation reflected the family’s values.

And on a bus ride with his players, who were being uncharacteristically quiet after Trump’s election last year, Van Gundy went on a rant against the new president: 

“I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said. “We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking this is where we are as a country.”

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