Stan Van Gundy Accuses NBA Critics of Using China Controversy to Distract from America’s Evils

AP Photo_Ashley Landis (1)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy accused critics of the NBA’s continued silence on the massive human rights abuses in China, of using the issue as a “distraction” from talking about America’s evils.

In an August 6 tweet, Van Gundy struck out at critics of the league, saying, “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.”

Van Gundy was responding to an article in the Orlando Sentinel by David Whitley where the writer slammed the NBA’s social justice campaigns and its callousness about the human rights abuses in China where it is earning $4 billion annually by partnering with the abusive regime there.

The former NBA coach didn’t stop with just one reply and posted a pair of other tweets attacking the article, as well.

“NBA players are corrupt and greedy because they racial injustice here but not in the rest of the world? Ridiculous. Yes, they care more about problems here. Racial injustice has directly affected them and people they care about. It is their lived experience,” he carped in one tweet.

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

Of course, being “woke” has never been defined as merely being “American woke.” The plight of people who live under regimes that brutalize them and steal their rights is a universal human rights issue, not just an American issue. And of course, if the NBA decries acts of supposed human rights abuse in America but then in the same breath bankrolls the worst oppressor of human rights in the world, then people will correctly conclude that the NBA’s profit motive outweighs its human rights motive.  Meaning that if social justice were not as lucrative or fashionable thing in America the NBA would not partake in it, human rights be damned.

Van Gundy’s arguments hold even less water when you consider that it was NBA employees, specifically coaches sent to run academies in China, who were the first to sound the alarm over human rights abuses against Chinese players by Chinese coaches. Employees of the NBA certainly do care about the right s of people overseas, it was the league office who turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to those concerns as they sought to preserve their multi-billion dollar business arrangement with the Chinese.

Several of Van Gundy’s other claims also don’t ring true. For instance, there is no national epidemic of police brutality. Researcher Heather Mac Donald recently found that in 2019, police killed 14 unarmed blacks in the U.S., but police killed 25 unarmed whites that same year. Meanwhile, China executes more than 1,000 citizens every year with its death penalty and leads the world in executions. And that doesn’t even include the many who die in police custody or in the hundreds of internment camps sprinkled across the communist country.

With China being one of history’s leading abusers of human rights, if the NBA is all fired up about stopping human rights abuses, ignoring China’s crimes merely because it makes money there is blatant hypocrisy.

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