Listen: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rants on Pres. Trump, Black History Month
SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich expressed some concerns about President Trump and the current climate of the United States this week.
Here's some of what he said:
It always intrigues me when people come out with, “I’m tired of talking about that,” or, “Do we have to talk about race again?” And the answer is, “You’re damned right we do.” Because it’s always there, and it’s systemic, in the sense that when you talk about opportunity, it’s not about, “Well, if you lace up your shoes and you work hard, then you can have the American dream.” That’s a bunch of hogwash.
If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage — educationally, economically, culturally, in this society and all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it’s in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education. We have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It’s a tough one because people don’t really want to face it.
And it’s in our national discourse.
We have a president of the United States [Donald Trump] who spent four or five years disparaging and trying to [de]legitimize our president [Barack Obama]. And we know that was a big fake. But still, [he] felt for some reason it had to be done. I can still remember a paraphrase close to a quote “investigators were sent to Hawaii and you cannot believe what they found.” Well, that was a lie. So if it’s being discussed and perpetrated at that level, you’ve got a national problem.
This isn't the first time the coach has gone after Trump:
While meeting with reporters before the Spurs played the NBA champion Cavaliers, Popovich didn't hold back in offering his disdain for Trump and members of his administration.
Popovich was initially asked about his views on the women's marches in Washington and around the world before he unloaded on Trump.
"Their message is obvious," the five-time champion coach said of the protesters. "Our president comes in with the lowest (approval) rating of anybody whoever came into the office. And there's a majority of people out there, since Hillary (Clinton) won the popular vote, that don't buy his act. And I just wish that he was more — had the ability to be more — mature enough to do something that really is inclusive rather than just talking and saying, 'I'm going to include everybody.'
"He could talk to the groups that he disrespected and maligned during the primary and really make somebody believe it. But so far, we've got (to) a point where you really can't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. You really can't."
As he said following Trump's election in November, Popovich wants Trump to succeed but believes he will only do so if he changes.
Popovich pointed out that Trump visited CIA headquarters on his first official day in office, but used the occasion to talk about himself.
"Instead of honoring the 117 people behind him where he was speaking, he talked about the size of the crowd," Popovich said. "That's worrisome. I'd just feel better if somebody was in that position that showed the maturity and psychological and emotional level of somebody that was his age. It's dangerous and it doesn't do us any good. I hope he does a great job, but there's a difference between respecting the office of the presidency and who occupies it.
"And that respect has to be earned."
Popovich was also critical of those who don't hold Trump accountable for his words.
"It's hard to be respectful of someone when we all have kids and we're watching him be misogynistic and xenophobic and racist and make fun of handicapped people. And what really bothers me are the people around him: The Sean Spicers, the Kellyanne Conways, the Reince Priebuses that know who he is and actually have the cynical approach and disingenuous attitude to really defend him and try to make it look like he didn't say what he said.
"And so when he's mad at the media for them reporting what he said, that just boggles my mind."
Popovich said others would have punished for some of the things Trump has said in the past, including when he made fun of a handicapped reporter.
"If our children would've said it, we would have grounded him for six months," he said. "Without a doubt. But we ignore all that because, because why? That says something about all of us and that's what's dangerous, or that's what scares the hell out of me to this day. It makes me uneasy."
Popovich concluded his rant about Trump by decrying his inability to handle media criticism.
"It does boggle the mind how somebody can be so thin skinned," he said. "It's all obvious, it's about him. If anything affects him, if it's Saturday Night Live or Hamilton, or she got three more million votes than you. 'They're illegal.' It doesn't matter what it is, there's a pattern there. And that's dangerous. I'd like to have someone with gravitas, but he got there through the electoral college which is part of our system, and I hope he does some good things.
"There was a young lady on today who said, 'I just wished he had gone up there and said something like, and I know I said certain things, or you know I would really like to bring the people who don't feel, or I know some of you are scared.' But he can't do that because bullies don't do that. That's why."
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