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NBA’s Van Gundy: Whites ‘Are The Ones Who Are Racist’

NBA’s Van Gundy: Whites ‘Are The Ones Who Are Racist’

 

Speaking with ESPN’s “The Undefeated” last week, the NBA’s New Orleans Pelicans’ coach Stan Van Gundy stated that whites “are the ones who are racist,” adding, “I’m a poster boy for white privilege.”

“We’re the ones that are racist,” said Van Gundy. “It’s a white person’s problem that affects people of color, and so we’re the ones who have to change. … Certainly you want to promote Black voices, right? But if they’re the only ones speaking out, a lot of people just push it aside. There needs to be people saying, ‘No, wait a minute. This is wrong, and we need to correct these things.’”“I’m a poster boy for white privilege,” he continued. “I’ve led a privileged life, so I only know about these issues, and these problems, and these inequities from people I’ve been associated with, work with, know, care about. I don’t carry the issue. But just because something doesn’t happen to you, if it’s happening to people you know, if it’s happening to people you care about, you care about the issue.”

Last August, Van Gundy issued an attack on America in response to an article ripping the NBA. “When National Hockey League games used to turn into brawls, the joke was ‘I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out,’” he said. “Now you can tune into a social justice protest and a Chinese Basketball Association game might break out.”

The reference in the op-ed showcased the NBA’s obeisance to Communist China, but Van Gundy decided instead to attack America, tweeting: “We committed genocide against Native Americans. We have enslaved, lynched, segregated and incarcerated blacks over 400 years. Women couldn’t vote for 140 years. Using abuses elsewhere to try to distract from our own poor record on human rights is dishonest.”

Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin lauded Van Gundy to “The Undefeated,” asserting, “In an era like we’re living in, being someone who has a positive track record in the area of social justice was important, because it matters to players. His reputation in that space really spoke for itself. And I think when you look at everything that he has done, his action, not what he says, but the things he invests his time, energy and money in, I’m really proud that he is our coach. I think players respect him as a man for those things, and that matters enormously.”

Van Gundy asserted, “You alienate a lot of people when you talk about white privilege because a lot of people out there who, I get it, they don’t feel privileged. They don’t have money. They’re working their a** off just to get by, and they’re like, ‘What the hell are you talking about? There’s no such thing as white … I’m not privileged.’ You may not have an easy life, but you’re not oppressed simply because of the color of your skin. That’s the difference. I’m not going to get pulled over driving around at night, I’m not, just because of the color of my skin. I’m not going to get a DWB [Driving While Black], I’m not. That’s white privilege.”

“I’ve had people say to me, ‘When my dad built his business, he started from nothing,’ Van Gundy said. “And I said, ‘Yeah, but there were no laws, or societal norms working against him. He got a chance to pull himself up by the bootstrap, so to speak. Other people didn’t. They’re going to segregated schools.’ That’s the part that people miss. We’re not saying that there’s not a lot of people out there who’ve had to work their a** off to get where they are, and so when you tell them it’s white privilege, I get it. They’re going, ‘Whoa. Wait a minute. I worked my butt off for everything I had.’ Of course you did, nobody is taking that away from you. What we’re saying is some people aren’t even allowed that opportunity to work their a** off to get to where they are, and if they are, it’s only come about really recently.”

Asked why he was attracted to New Orleans, Van Gundy answered, “the political part of it did excite us because we’ve lived in a fairly conservative area in Florida. … And just the diversity of the entire city. Political diversity, racial diversity, LGBTQ diversity.”


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