PHOENIX -- Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy noticed the quietness on this morning’s bus ride to Talking Stick Resort Arena.
He wondered whether his team was still thinking about its embarrassing 32-point loss to the Los Angeles Clippers two nights ago. But backup center Aron Baynes let him know that wasn’t it. He told Van Gundy that the players’ thoughts were on Donald Trump winning the U.S. presidential election Tuesday night.
That result disgusted Van Gundy. In a six-minute diatribe today, Van Gundy unloaded on the unconventional candidate who rose from being an underdog in GOP primaries to occupying the most powerful office in the world.
“I don't think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic,” Van Gundy said. “We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking this is where we are as a country.”
After he finished his rant, he said he didn’t feel like discussing tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns (9, FSD).
Here are his full remarks, lightly edited:
“I didn’t vote for (George W.) Bush, but he was a good, honorable man with whom I had political differences, so I didn’t vote for him. But for our country to be where we are now, who took a guy who -- I don’t care what anyone says, I’m sure they have other reasons and maybe good reasons for voting for Donald Trump -- but I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic and ethnic-centric, and say, ‘That’s OK with us, we’re going to vote for him anyway.'
“We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking that this is where we are as a country. It’s tough on (the team), we noticed it coming in. Everybody was a little quiet, and I thought, ‘Well, maybe the game the other night.’ And so we talked about that, but then Aron Baynes said, ‘I don’t think that’s why everybody’s quiet. It’s last night.’
“It’s just, we have said -- and my daughters, the three of them -- our society has said, ‘No, we think you should be second-class citizens. We want you to be second-class citizens. And we embrace a guy who is openly misogynistic as our leader.' I don’t know how we get past that.
“Martin Luther King said, 'The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.' I would have believed in that for a long time, but not today. … What we have done to minorities … in this election is despicable. I’m having a hard time dealing with it. This isn’t your normal candidate. I don’t know even know if I have political differences with him. I don’t even know what are his politics. I don’t know, other than to build a wall and 'I hate people of color, and women are to be treated as sex objects and as servants to men.' I don’t know how you get past that. I don’t know how you walk into the booth and vote for that.
“I understand problems with the economy. I understand all the problems with Hillary Clinton, I do. But certain things in our country should disqualify you. And the fact that millions and millions of Americans don’t think that racism and sexism disqualifies you to be our leader, in our country ... . We presume to tell other countries about human-rights abuses and everything else. We better never do that again, when our leaders talk to China or anybody else about human-rights abuses.
“We just elected an openly, brazen misogynist leader and we should keep our mouths shut and realize that we need to be learning maybe from the rest of the world, because we don’t got anything to teach anybody.
“It’s embarrassing. I have been ashamed of a lot of things that have happened in this country, but I can’t say I’ve ever been ashamed of our country until today. Until today. We all have to find our way to move forward, but that was -- and I’m not even trying to make a political statement. To me, that’s beyond politics.
“You don’t get to come out and talk about people like that, and then lead our country and have millions of Americans embrace you. I’m having a hard time being with people. I’m going to walk into this arena tonight and realize that -- especially in this state -- most of these people voted for the guy. Like, (expletive), I don’t have any respect for that. I don’t.
“And then you read how he was embraced by conservative Christians. Evangelical Christians. I’m not a religious guy, but what the hell Bible are they reading? I’m dead serious. What Bible are you reading? And you’re supposed to be — it’s different. There are a lot of different groups we can be upset at. But you’re Christians. You’re supposed to be — at least you pride yourself on being the moral compass of our society. And you said, ‘Yeah, the guy can talk about women like that. I’m fine with that.’ He can disparage every ethnic group, and I’m fine with that.
“Look, I don’t get it. And I’m having a hard time taking it. I’m just glad that the people I’m with here — and I’ll include you guys, too — that I like. Because I’m going to have a hard time. I will say, one point of pride, I live in Oakland County, Michigan, and I was surprised, but Oakland County voted for Clinton. At least I can look around say, ‘We weren’t the ones putting that guy in office.'
“It’s incredible. I don’t know how you go about it, if you’re a person of color today or a Latino. Because white society just said to you, again -- not like we haven’t forever -- but again, and emphatically, that I don’t think you deserve equality. We don’t think you deserve respect. And the same with women. That’s what we say today, as a country. We should be ashamed for what we stand for as the United States today.
“That’s it for me. I don’t have anything to say about the game tonight."