Opinion: Leave Stan Van Gundy alone


Ritchie Mulhall

Richard Mulhall

It never ceases to amaze me the things athletes and coaches get fined for in professional sports. They can get fined for everything from making a bad comment during a post-game press conference or wearing the wrong kind of sneakers for a game

One of the National Basketball Association’s most recent fines was dealt to Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy for his public criticism of league officials. He was fined $25,000 for criticizing the referees in an in-game interview during Game 1 of the NBA playoffs. The comments came during the Pistons’ 106-101 Game 1 playoff loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In the aforementioned interview, Van Gundy said LeBron James gets all the calls in his favor, especially offensive foul calls.

 “A couple calls have upset our guys,” Van Gundy told ESPN’s Lisa Salters. “They’ve got to understand, LeBron’s LeBron. They’re not going to call offensive fouls on him. He gets to do whatever he wants. They’ve got to understand that.”

Although I’m a Cavs fan and one to think there have been past occasions in which Van Gundy would be better off keeping his mouth shut, he’s not wrong in this situation. James, like Michael Jordan in the 90s, does get more calls in his favor than the average player. That’s just the way it is in the NBA. When you reach privileged superstar status in the NBA like James, you automatically and informally become more entitled to having calls go your way. When you’re an icon like James, referees are going to be more inclined to side with you over the “Joe-Schmo” small forward for the 8th-seed Detroit Pistons (I believe his name is Tobias Harris, by the way).

The point is, that’s the way it goes in the NBA unfortunately, and Van Gundy candidly acknowledged that with his comments. He was voicing his opinion and just trying to be honest, and there’s a lot of truth behind his comments that any fan would be more than happy to corroborate. Everyone knows a player like James gets all the calls. It’s basically common knowledge at this point, which is what Van Gundy was attempting to underscore

It’s just a shame that apparently in the NBA, voicing your opinion lands you an exorbitant fine.

Richard Mulhall is a sports columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].