Former New Orleans Pelicans Head coach Stan Van Gundy may not have to wait long for his next job.
The longtime NBA head coach has previously been linked to join TNT, his employer before spending a year coaching Zion Williamson and his friends. But if Van Gundy starts negotiating with Turner Sports, both sides need to have a frank and open discussion on his social media accounts.
Stan Van Gundy has always been frank on social media
When Stan Van Gundy joined Twitter in July 2020, it wasn’t just so that he could break down an area 2-3 or tweet photos of dogs.
The longtime NBA head coach has spent the last year tweeting about politics and criticizing the two big parties. Former President Donald Trump has become a frequent target of Van Gundy’s tweets, especially ahead of the 2020 election. He also frequently tweets about Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
In one Tweeter on March 28, Van Gundy described himself as a “staunch Democrat” and a supporter of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Until June 2021, the vast majority of his tweets and retweets were about politics. On June 1, the head coach of the Pelicans at the time tweeted that he was “proud to support” Nikki Fried, Florida’s agricultural commissioner who is running for state governor in 2022.
Van Gundy decided a long time ago that he was not going to remain silent about injustice, and he should be commended for using his platform to fight for what he believes in sharing.
If TNT really wants Van Gundy to return to air, they need to find common ground on how and when he uses social media. Some fans might argue that it would be in everyone’s best interests if he tweeted less about Trump and more about the super-teams.
To be clear, TNT – or any company that hires Van Gundy – shouldn’t censor him or stop him from using social media. Often his problem is not what he says but how he says it to represent him and his employer.
Van Gundy has an established social media presence as an NBA personality who will criticize anyone, regardless of their political stripe. And if TNT suggested a compromise involving social media, it could turn down the job offer out of a desire for freedom and control over its social media.
A compromise could also be an example of a network protecting Van Gundy from himself. Ongoing engagement with other social media users about politics can have an added deterrent effect on a 61-year-old who has recorded loss records in four of his last five seasons as a coach- chief.
Charles Barkley hinted that TNT standards are changing
If Van Gundy and his fans don’t think TNT would tell him anything about his comment, they should just ask Charles Barkley what he thinks about it.
During a recent episode of Inside the NBA, Barkley revealed that network executives told him and his colleagues to be careful what they say. The NBA legend said he couldn’t go on joking about the “big old women” of Texas anymore.
Admittedly, there is a clear difference between discussing the weight of women and tweeting about the need to vote against a politician. But Inside the NBA is as popular as because the show embraced Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal providing outrageous comments.
If TNT or the NBA think Barkley’s jokes are too much, suddenly it doesn’t seem so unrealistic to believe that social media could be next on their agenda. And if TNT Is seem open to social media censorship, Van Gundy should turn to starting a podcast or joining another network. It’s not worth it for the longtime head coach to give up the fight against injustice just to earn a salary.
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