Opinion

Pistons Coach Stan Van Gundy’s Hot Take On Patriotism Is Not To Be Missed

Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy wrote an op-ed in Time today and it was a doozy.

The piece, titled “Athletes Who Protest Are Patriots” is a thought provoking article with revolutionary new ideas on how to stop police brutality while still honoring our sacred American traditions, like standing for the National Anthem.

Just kidding. It’s a race baiting op-ed that wholly puts the blame for our country’s maladies on white people while praising black athletes for their bravery and courage.

Gundy begins by discussing his platform. He believes he has the authority to address race issues because he coaches black people. How illuminating.

“I have been coaching for about 20 years in the NBA, a league that is 75% black. 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,” Gundy stated.

Coaching in a league that’s 3/4 black doesn’t make you an expert on race relations. Just like coaching in the NHL (which is 95% white) also doesn’t make you an expert on race relations.

Gundy’s right about bigotry being on the rise, though. It’s just not in the way we might traditionally picture it. Just this week, a black law professor published an op-ed in the New York Times asking if his kids could be friends with white people. Vice news asserted last year that “it’s literally impossible to be racist to a white person.” Huff Post still has an article up online that justifies Otto Warmbier’s detainment because of his “white male privilege.” This is all just bigotry disguised as progress.

Gundy also calls athletes who kneel for the National Anthem “brave and courageous.”

No. I’m sorry. Just no.

Brave and courageous is taking up arms and chasing down a gunman in Texas to prevent more massacre. Brave and courageous is storming a compound in Pakistan to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. Brave and courageous is not refusing to stand for the anthem because a song hurts your feelings.

But Gundy just keeps trucking by citing the difference between nationalism and patriotism.

“Nationalism, [race expert Dr. Michael Eric Dyson] said, is supporting your country no matter what, right or wrong. Patriotism, on the other hand, is caring so deeply about your country that you take it as your duty to hold it accountable to its highest values and to fight to make it the very best it can be. Under this definition, these athletes and coaches are role models of American patriotism,” Gundy said.

The spin on this is so incredibly absurd and self-unaware that you have to just laugh. Arguing that overpaid athletes are patriotic moral beacons because they disrespect the anthem is the most beautiful contradiction I’ve seen in a while. Colin Kaepernick never claimed to be a patriot. He said this country was racist and founded on nothing more than “systemic oppression.” The guy doesn’t even vote.

Patriotism is not wearing socks that depict cops as pigs. Patriotism is not supporting Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.

If Van Gundy wants to support players in their blatant disrespect for our country and law enforcement, he’s allowed. It’s a free country. But don’t back out and call it patriotism – that’s just idiotic.