Former NBA Head Coach Van Gundy Deflects on China’s Human Rights Abuses, Criticizes U.S.

Andrew Davenport | August 13, 2020 | 3:03pm EDT
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NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy.  (Getty Images)
NBA analyst Stan Van Gundy. (Getty Images)

(CNS News) -- Stan Van Gundy, a former NBA head coach of the Detroit Pistons, Orlando Magic, and Miami Heat and a current NBA analyst, criticized commentary about Communist China's human rights abuses and said people should focus on U.S. failures. 

An Aug. 5 Orlando Sentinel commentary, “China gets the NBA to shut up and dribble,” went after the NBA for its subservience to the Communist regime, which since 1950 has killed more than 65 million of its own people.

Van Gundy responded to the article in multiple tweets to try to deflect from China’s human rights abuses. He instead criticized the United States for its apparent failures from the 16th century and forward.

“We committed genocide against Native Americans,” Van Gundy claimed. “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.” 

In another tweet, Van Gundy criticized the commentary’s author, columnist David Whitley. “Whitley is just another guy offended that players are using their platform to spotlight the uncomfortable truth of 400 years of oppression of blacks,” said Van Gundy. “He uses China to try to distract from the very real problems of racial injustice and police brutality here.” 

In his column, Whitley argued that the NBA has turned itself into “the world’s most privileged Black Lives Matter protest.” 

Whitley questioned the social justice protests in contrast to the lack of NBA protests over Chinese human rights abuses. “Amid all the preaching, would someone make a peep about a country that commits more human rights abuses in 10 minutes than the U.S. does in 10 years?” said Whitley.  

He went on to point out numerous examples of the NBA’s close association with China, including building training academies for students who later were discovered to have been physically abused and deprived of schooling. 

As NBA players protest for social justice in the United States, Whitley questioned where the influential social justice warriors were to speak up for billions of lives in Communist China, such as Hong Kong dissidents or Uighur Muslims, over one million of whom have been herded into slave labor camps.

Whitley added, “I don’t question the sincerity of players who want to make lives better. But there are a billion lives in China desperate for influential social justice warriors to speak up for them.” 

The NBA has received wide criticism for its close association with the totalitarian Chinese government. In July, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) sent a letter to the NBA commissioner over the NBA’s decision to allow pro-BLM slogans but not allow phrases in support of victims of the Chinese Communist Party.

In the letter, Hawley went after the NBA saying, “With your new policy, you have crossed the line of sanctioning specific political messages. There is no avoiding the work of clarifying the association’s values now. This is a time for you to make clear what your league believes about human rights and about the nation that is your home. Your silence on these questions speaks volumes.”   

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