Former NBA coach Stan Van Gundy sounded off on the Blue Lives Matter movement in the wake of the deadly shooting of a Black man by police in Wisconsin, saying it’s wrong to equate protests against police brutality with hatred for members of law enforcement.
Van Gundy took to Twitter this week to respond to a report that the teen accused of opening fire during protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was a supporter of law enforcement and Blue Lives Matter. The report noted that the 17-year-old traveled to serve as part of a “militia” group with the goal of helping law enforcement to protect lives and property during demonstrations calling for justice after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Video from the event allegedly showed the teen opening fire during a scuffle, shooting three people and killing two. Critics have attacked Kenosha officials, as the video appears to show the suspect walking near officers but not being arrested.
As Van Gundy wrote, the Blue Lives Matter movement appears to incorrectly conflate calls for reform with opposition to officers.
“There are no blue lives. There are no blue people. Being a police officer is the job they chose,” he wrote. “It is a public job, paid for by us. It is the civic responsibility of the people to hold public officials accountable. Protesting against police brutality is not hating police.”
Van Gundy has been vocal about his support for racial justice protests, using both his social media presence and his platform on NBA on TNT to support players taking action. He supported the players who decided to go on strike this week in the wake of Blake’s shooting, which led to the postponement of a number of playoff games. The movement spread to other sports, with teams from other major American leagues also going on strike and boycotting games.
Van Gundy later shared a video of Michael Wilbon, a sports commentator who is Black, talking about the discussion he had with his 12-year-old son about how to stay safe from police and what he should do if pulled over while driving. As Van Gundy noted, white people do not face such dangers in their own interactions with officers.
“White privilege is never having to have this talk with our kids,” Van Gundy tweeted. “I never had to worry about what would happen to my kids if the police pulled them over. EVERY Black Person I ever worked with had to worry about it and had to talk with their kids about how to act if pulled over.”