Jeff Van Gundy: ‘Lunacy’ for Dallas fans to boo DeAndre Jordan, cheer Greg Hardy

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Mavericks fans booed DeAndre Jordan last night, and then Jeff Van Gundy had words for them during the ESPN telecast.

Van Gundy:

I have no problem with him changing his mind. That’s man’s greatest right, his right to change his mind. I do have a problem with him not directly contacting Mark Cuban to tell him about his change of mind.

I would also like Dallas fans to acknowledge the sheer lunacy and absurdity that they’re booing DeAndre Jordan tonight, and they’ll be cheering someone like Greg Hardy on Sunday. That, to me, is absurd.

All this guy did was change his mind.

Van Gundy has a point.

It’s worth acknowledging not all Dallas Mavericks fans are Dallas Cowboys fans. Plus, even among the overlap, not everyone who booed Jordan cheers Hardy.

But there are undoubtedly some fans who booed Jordan and cheer Hardy, who was convicted of domestic assault. (That conviction was overturned on appeal when the victim accepted a settlement and stopped cooperating.)

And it is lunacy.

But it’s also understandable.

Jordan is a sports villain. He plays a character in a drama called the NBA, and he became an enemy in Dallas for changing his mind about a job. He probably didn’t handle it as well as he should have, but in perspective, the situation hardly defines his character. It doesn’t make him a bad person.

Hardy is a real-life villain, beating a woman to the point she feared he’d kill her and seemingly showing no remorse. He’s also a heck of a football player.

How do we reconcile these dichotomies?

We boo Jordan, and I’m cool with that. That’s all in good fun – or at least should be. Anyone who doesn’t understand that has a problem.

Hardy is much more complicated. I’m sure many Cowboys fans are uncomfortable with Hardy on their team. They might not even cheer him during pregame introductions. But when he sacks the opposing quarterback and instincts take over, they’re more likely to overlook his transgressions and cheer.

We have a tough time talking about domestic violence. Should Hardy be banned from holding a job? He went through the legal process, and he’s a free man. An if it’s OK for him to have a job, why not as an NFL player? At this point, I’m not sure the appropriate way to treat him, not to mention how long he should receive that treatment. Lance Stephenson – a teammate of Jordan on the Clippers – allegedly pushed his girlfriend down a flight of stairs then hit her head into the bottom step in 2010. Van Gundy didn’t mention that or criticize Clippers fans for cheering Stephenson. Whatever public penalty Stephenson served, it has expired.

We have a much easier time talking about sports, so Jordan gets booed and Hardy gets cheered in Dallas. In the sports world, their roles are clear.

But consider what actually matters more, and “sheer lunacy and absurdity” is a fair assessment.