Boston — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy isn’t reticent about sharing his political views, as he did during the presidential campaign and following the election.
But in the aftermath of the executive orders that President Donald Trump signed on Friday — most notably a travel ban that restricted entry into the United States and led to protests around the country over the weekend — Van Gundy sounded off again.
“This travel ban is starting to get to really scary stuff. Now we’re judging people by their religion and we’re trying to keep Muslims out,” Van Gundy said Monday afternoon following the Pistons’ shootaround in Boston.
“(CNN’s) Fareed Zakaria had a great thing … none of those seven nations has been responsible for an American death, but we’re barring everybody from those seven. It’s just playing to people’s fears and prejudices.”
Trump has drawn criticism for the moves, which were followed up on promises he made during the campaign.
Now, he’s delivering on them.
That’s led to protests in airports around the country, as more than 100 people were detained for further questioning upon returning to the U.S.
For Van Gundy, it’s just the first step toward what he believes are drastic moves that counter what American values are.
“We’re getting back to the days of putting the Japanese in relocation camps, of Hitler registering the Jews — that’s where we’re heading. It’s just fear-mongering and playing to a certain base of people that have some built-in prejudices that aren’t fair,” Van Gundy said. “There’s no reasonable reason to do it. If they haven’t been responsible for a single American fatality, how is doing it making us safer?
“That would be the question. And the answer is that it’s not. But to some people, it sounds good and if you have a prejudice against Muslims in general, it sounds really good to you.”
While Van Gundy is not a Trump supporter, he wanted to speak out and have his voice heard.
“This stuff is real and it’s scary and I think everybody should speak up," Van Gundy said. "This isn’t about a person in office or anything else — it’s about policy that’s antithetical to what we’re supposed to be about here in America. I would love our players to speak out about that.”
Van Gundy was wary of Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas, who has earned a second All-Star selection and has helped vault Boston to second place in the Eastern Conference.
“He’s been great all year, but he’s really got it rolling right now,” Van Gundy said. “I have a genuine appreciation for a lot of good NBA players. It’s a challenge trying to go out and win as a coach and as players.”
After playing his first three seasons with the Kings, Thomas bounced to the Suns and then the Celtics, where he’s settled in nicely. He noted in general, it sometimes takes players to have a change of scenery before they figure everything out