CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nobody from the Utah Jazz went off on a tangent about the election like Stan Van Gundy or Steve Kerr did in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s shocking win over Hillary Clinton.
Van Gundy, the Pistons coach, went off for six minutes about how disgusted he was that America voted in the controversial Republican candidate.
“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.”
Kerr, the Warriors coach, was also despondent about the results.
“Just the whole process has left all of us feeling kind of disgusted and disappointed. I thought we were better than this,” Kerr said. “This is a presidential election. It’s not 'The Jerry Springer Show.'”
While all remained calm along the Jazz front — that’s not to say there weren't some shocked people on the team — Utah coach Quin Snyder said he’s not opposed to his players having strong opinions. He added a caveat to that statement.
“I want them to have opinions, but I want them to be informed opinions,” Snyder said. “Any type of dialogue or exchange of ideas or sharing is something that we encourage. At the same time, I don’t want to discourage them from expressing themselves. I would hope that their thoughts are educated ones and well-founded and well thought out.”
Though the team didn’t discuss Tuesday’s results together, the group had productive conversations about the primaries last season, the national anthem issue earlier this year and about other hot topics both in the United States and among the other countries from where Jazz players hail.
Utah’s staff even put together clips of the Republican and Democratic primaries to show the players and assembled newspaper articles for them to read about the national anthem issue when they first got together late in the summer before training camp started.
“I’m not sure who reads them,” Snyder said. “Sometimes they probably go unread, but I know certain guys have dabbled in there.”
Rodney Hood said his phone was exploding overnight when the election results were being tallied. He couldn’t help but stay up late to find out who won.
“It was just a weird night for me,” he said. “But it happened. Move on from it.”
Backup big Jeff Withey said some players discussed the presidential election in casual conversations.
“We’ve talked about it as individuals, not as a team. But nothing as far as diehard fans one towards the other,” Withey said. “We have so many international guys (seven) that they kind of want to know what’s going on. They ask us. As far as debates and stuff like that, nothing too crazy.”