Auburn Hills — Pistons president and coach Stan Van Gundy long has been outspoken about political issues, especially in his opposition to some of the stances that President Donald Trump has taken during the campaign and following his election.
Amidst the furor over Trump’s statements last weekend involving athletes and silent protests during the national anthem at games, it has become a national issue.
Van Gundy provided his input during Pistons media day on Monday at The Palace, opting to read a written statement rather than speaking off the cuff:
“While it is unfortunate that our current president has made our national anthem a divisive issue, the positive is that people are now talking about some very important problems,” Van Gundy said. “There are serious issues of inequality and injustice in this country. People of conscience are compelled to oppose racism, sexism and intolerance of people of different sexual identities and orientation, wherever and whenever they see it.
“I stand with those opposing such bigotry. I, as an individual, and the Detroit Pistons as an organization support diversity, inclusion and equality. I was proud of the statement that our owner, Tom Gores, released this morning.
“I applaud the professional athletes using their platform to voice their opinions. I encourage our players to be engaged, involved citizens. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy and has been an impetus for social change throughout our history. While people can differ on the issues, no one should seek to discourage freedom of speech. The athletes involved in these protests should be respected for exercising their rights of free speech in an appropriate and non-violent manner.”