This ESPN commentator took a bold stance against NBA players accused of domestic abuse

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While the Houston Rockets casually dismantled the woeful New York Knicks in each team’s preseason debut, Jeff Van Gundy—a former NBA coach and now a color commentator for ESPN basketball broadcasts—took some time to discuss domestic violence penalties in the context of the civil case against Derrick Rose, who is accused of participating in a gang rape of his then-girlfriend.

“My one suggestion going forward is, any felony committed against a woman should be a full-season suspension. And on the second one, you’re gone,” Van Gundy said Tuesday night. “It’s not a mistake. It’s a choice. It’s a choice to commit a violent act.”

Van Gundy also briefly analyzed Rose’s night on the court, and then mentioned a conference he’d attended on domestic violence. He made clear he didn’t know the specifics of the Rose case, but wanted to address the issue of domestic violence more generally. “A woman is assaulted every nine seconds,” he said. “I mean, this is an epidemic.”

“Eight games, he comes back,” Van Gundy said, referring to the eight-game suspension of Darren Collison, who pled guilty to a misdemeanor domestic battery charge. “I just think we’ve got to do more instead of… like you said the NBA’s always been on the forefront. Let’s be on the forefront of this.”

ESPN is notoriously politically averse, especially in regards to their on-air talent, but Van Gundy’s comments, combined with Ryan Clark’s decision to wear a Kaepernick jersey on-air two weeks ago, may signal a change in the company’s standards.

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