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AUDIO: SVG: I stand with those opposing bigotry

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Pistons coach releases statement on Trump, player protests

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NBA: Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Hours after Pistons owner Tom Gores released a statement in support of player activism, head coach Stan Van Gundy released his own statement with a full-throated defense of standing up to inequality, injustice and using peaceful protests for social change.

Much to the chagrin of the #sticktosports crowd, professional athletes in several sports reacted with anger after President Donald Trump said the “sons of bitches” who kneel during the national anthem at NFL games should be fired. He also rescinded a standard invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House after Steph Curry expressed trepidation about making the trip.

Stan Van Gundy’s full statement (original in all caps, but, c’mon, I’m not gonna do that to you). Listen to the audio:

While it is unfortunate that our current president has made our national anthem a divisive issue, the positive is that people are now talking about some very important problems.

There are serious issues of inequality & injustice in this country. People of conscience are compelled to oppose racism, sexism and intolerance of people of different sexual identities and orientation wherever and whenever they see it. I stand with those opposing such bigotry. I as an individaul and the Detroit Pistons as an organization support diversity, inclusion and equality. I was proud of the statement that our owner Tom Gores released this morning.

I applaud the professional athletes using their platform to voice their opinions. I encourage our players to be engaged, involved citizens. Peaceful protest is a hallmark of our democracy and has been an impetus for social change throughout our history. While people can differ on the issues no one should seek to discourage freedom of speech. The athletes involved in these protests should be respected for exercising their rights of free speech in an appropriate and non-violent manner.