Stan Van Gundy: Justice Done, but 'Hard to Celebrate' Derek Chauvin Verdict

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2021

New Orleans Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy watches from the bench during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Thursday, March 18, 2021. The Blazers won 101-93. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

New Orleans Pelicans head coach Stan Van Gundy remained solemn following the verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on Tuesday.

A jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the May 2020 killing of George Floyd.

"We had somebody needlessly killed right in front of us," Van Gundy told reporters after the outcome of the trial. "Right in front of all of us because we can see it on video. And no verdict was going to change that. And while it's just, it's hard to celebrate. It's also hard to celebrate because we've had other incidents just like it since the time George Floyd got killed."

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"Justice was done, but it’s hard to celebrate." Stan Van Gundy and Steve Nash react to the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin of the murder of George Floyd. https://t.co/6FCTlOFhPR

He went on to question whether the verdict truly represents a step toward addressing the issues of systemic racism and police brutality.

The Columbus Dispatch's Mark Ferenchik reported that only minutes before Chauvin's verdict was read a police officer in Columbus, Ohio, shot and killed a 15-year-old girl. Hazel Bryant, the girl's aunt, told Ferenchik the girl had gotten into an altercation with someone at her foster home and that while she had been holding a knife, she dropped it after police arrived on the scene.

Van Gundy has been outspoken on social issues and penned an essay for The Players' Tribune following the storming of the U.S. Capitol in January.

"I see people getting excited that there's a new president, and I think that's great. Really," he wrote. "But it's a little premature for a sigh of relief.

"We can't waste an opportunity to actually reckon with the racism and hatred that's been building in this country, long before any individual president took office."

Van Gundy went on to say the United States is "entrenched in a battle where on one side, people are fighting for equality, and on the other side, people are fighting for the status and privilege they see slipping away."