Jeff Van Gundy Sounds Off on Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse During Derrick Rose's Preseason Debut with Knicks
Jeff Van Gundy spoke out about domestic violence during ESPN's broadcast of Knicks-Rockets.
During last night's preseason match-up between the Knicks and the Rockets, ESPN announcers Mark Jones and legendary ankle-grabber Jeff Van Gundy discussed the $21 million civil lawsuit accusing New York guard Derrick Rose and two friends of gang-raping a woman who was passed out after a night of drinking. Rose says the sex was consensual.
Van Gundy didn't address the Rose accusations directly, saying he didn't know about the specifics of that case, but he followed right up with a brief discussion about domestic violence and the NBA. "A woman is assaulted every nine seconds," he said during the broadcast. "I mean, this is an epidemic."
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and Van Gundy had attended a conference earlier in the day about sexual abuse and domestic violence. One of the speakers was NFL executiveTroy Vincent, who once testified during a Senate hearing about the household abuse he endured while growing up, calling it a "way of life" and saying, "I relate to the 20 million victims." Whatever Vincent (and Houston Texans GM Rick Smith) said at the symposium made quite an impact on Van Gundy. He praised their speeches and mentioned how "chilling" it was to listen to a 911 call from a six-year-old whose mother was being knocked around.
Van Gundy also addressed the eight-game suspension Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison received for his recent guilty plea on a misdemeanor charge of domestic battery, a punishment the NBA deemed "appropriate." While he gives Commissioner Adam Silver high marks for his efforts so far, Van Gundy's suggestion for combating the problem goes way beyond the league's collective bargaining agreement, which mandates a ten-game suspension for a violent felony. He wasn't messing around. Van Gundy called for a year suspension for first-time offenders, and a lifetime ban if it happens again.
Bulls writer Sean Highkin posted a transcript of the conversation to Twitter.
Van Gundy has always had a bit of gee-whiz "can you believe it?" approach to calling games, and as a NBA broadcaster he should be aware of the hideous details in the Rose case, even though he didn't address them. (Lots of credit to Lindsay Gibbs, of Think Progress, for doggedly pursuing the story.) He closed with some seriously strong words.
"One thing I learned today, it's not a mistake. It's a choice. It's a choice to commit a violent act... The NBA's always been on the forefront. Let's be on the forefront of this."