Pistons owner stays woke on anthem kneeling, still wants to buy prison call company

by

DIEGO UCHITEL
  • Diego Uchitel
Pistons owner Tom Gores can come off so cool.

As league and franchise owners across professional sports are made to carve out positions on athletes kneeling during the national anthem, Gores has expressed some of the wokest views.

First, he went out of his way to volunteer a statement in support of players' rights to kneel in protest when President Donald Trump weighed in on the issue last month. This was even though Trump was speaking about kneeling players in a different league when he called them sons of bitches.

Last night, Gores reiterated his unequivocal support of players' right to free speech in a mini monologue that, honestly, had we been in the room, might have made us break into a slow clap.

"I just think it's two amazing things, to honor the country and for players to say what they want," he said in a news conference prior to the Pistons debut at the Little Caesars Arena. "Why should they ever meet each other? They're two great things. You should speak your mind. I would never hold a player back from speaking his mind, ever."

Gores went on to describe himself as patriotic, noting his immigrant roots. The equity firm and team owner was raised in the Flint area after moving from Israel as a child. He's of Lebanese descent.

"As a four-and-a-half-year-old showing up, I owe so much to this country," he said. "It's hard for me not to honor it. See, I love this country there's nothing better. I'm completely loyal to this country, but at the same time you gotta have the freedom of speech, so why these two great things collide? I'm not sure they should. These are two things we're based on."

The reporter who'd asked the question about anthem kneeling was somewhat taken aback, and before transitioning to matters of athletics, responded "Well... well put!" with a slight laugh.
Unfortunately, it's hard for us to forget that this is the same man efforting to enter an industry that, arguably, limits speech, or at the very least, communication.

As we wrote in a story last month, Gores is trying to buy prison phone call company Securus following a roll back of Obama-era price caps on calls. The industry is known for charging prisoner friends and families rates that greatly exceed the cost of a phone call outside of prison walls.

Gores' riches come from his private equity firm, Platinum. The company would not comment on the pending sale.

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