This isn’t exactly speaking truth to power, but it was still a beautifully ballsy move from Jeff Van Gundy. The truth in this case is the prejudicial way Augusta National Golf Club has handled their admittance policy over the years, and the power is ESPN (ABC/Disney).
When Mike Breen issued a hypothetical about Jeff Van Gundy handling Masters duty, which tee’d off today on ESPN, Jeff decided a nationally televised Suns-Mavs game on ESPN was as good a time as any to bring up Augusta’s discrimination against African-Americans and women.
Here’s the exchange in the video above:
Mike Breen: Imagine if Jeff was on the Master’s coverage?
Mark Jackson: I can’t, I can–
Jeff Van Gundy: Oh like they won’t allow black people or women in there? Like something like that? […] Yeah, I’m glad we’re quiet about that. But anyway, how about Jack Nicklaus making the hole-in-one in the Par 3 Tournament today —
Jackson: You can’t go from blacks and women to Jack getting a hole in one.
JVG: Well I’m gonna say it. Would I have been wrong to, like, maybe point that out — that there’s something wrong with that?
Jackson: Well, obviously I agree with you.
Our guy Jack said it best this morning when he heard the comments: “The Masters, a tradition unlike any other — except intolerance.
Jeff Van Gundy doesn’t seem to care about his corporate overlords at Disney. His inability to self-censure — at least to the degree Disney might like — is also why he’ll never host the Masters. But Van Gundy is likely OK with that fact. Regardless, we all need more JVG in our lives.