Cleveland — He wasn’t sure if it was the Pistons ticket office that had been hit by ground fire from sniping fans not pleased with a NBA coach’s political views.
No, it seemed more accurate, in Stan Van Gundy’s view, to simply say Friday that the “organization” had been made aware Pistons customers included select Donald Trump voters who didn’t appreciate last week’s Van Gundy excoriation of the newly elected president.
“It didn’t come directly to me,” Van Gundy said following Friday’s shootaround at Quicken Loans Arena, where the Pistons tonight will take a deep breath and challenge the Cavaliers in a 7:30 p.m. tussle. “But I know there was some (flak).
“I think the key points is, and I think Tom (Gores, Pistons owner) would echo this, we want to stand at all times with equality and justice for everyone, whether it’s race, sexual orientation, or gender.
“And that will sometimes require taking a stand against some things. Those are ideals our organization will stand for, and fans will.”
Van Gundy’s case had earlier been made, and reinforced Friday, against a President-elect whose views aren’t widely appreciated by minorities, in particular by African-Americans who happen to be represented heavily on NBA rosters.
Van Gundy had delivered his first verbal bombardment against Trump the day after the U.S. Nov. 8 election had delivered Trump as the 45th president.
“I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said then. “We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus. And I have problems in thinking this is where we are as a country.”
Van Gundy had other issues higher on Friday’s to-do list (the Cavs, LeBron James returning after a one-game breather, the Pistons’ road woes and assorted trouble spots, etc.), but his philosophical stance remained after he was asked about fallout.
A coach’s conviction, appreciated by his players as deeply felt and forged, was fine with Reggie Jackson as he stood at courtside, his contused left wrist and tendinitis-racked right knee wrapped in ice bags.
“The thing I’ve said about Coach before,” Jackson repeated, “is that he doesn’t seem like he’s always in this world. He says what he feels he must say.
“He understands he’s the head coach, and that’s what I love about this organization. Everyone understands the realities of this world.
“At the end of the day, everyone understands there’s more to life than basketball.”