Coach Pop spoke directly to his local and surrounding media using his platform to weigh in on EVERYTHING on Spurs Media Day.
(San Antonio)- We were there with cameras and microphones in hand. We are there every year, although this year was different. It was still Spurs Media Day where questions are asked, photos are taken and everyone is getting ready for the season. But, not so fast everyone hold on. Coach Popovich, as we all know, is the NBA's head coach of the Spurs and probably the most respected by all players, coaches and fans around the world.
But even Coach Pop knows what time it is and sometimes it is not time to take fun pictures and talk all day long when there is a an ugly nationwide crisis rearing its' ugly head. Coach Pop, knowing this day would draw questions about his team and athletes from every sport that we're protesting the treatment that Black men and women endure at the hand of racism, took to the microphone to expound. Pop took about 20+ minutes and talked!
We can see he doesn't much like speaking during or after games. He's very short and to the point. Today the issue of Race mattered to Pop.After Trump was elected President, Popovich stated he was “sick to his stomach” about the results. After the Presidential Inauguration in the latter part of January, Pop said “you really can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth (referring to Trump),” and referred to President Trump’s conduct as a game show in May 2017.
Popovich weighed in on the Golden State Warriors disinvite to the White House
"Well I thought it was comical that it was rescinded because they weren’t going anyway. It’s like a sixth grader’s going to have a party in his backyard so he disinvites him. But again, I think the behavior, although it’s disgusting, it’s also comical.
"Does Pop have a platform?"
"I don’t think about some platform that I have. I’m an individual. I live in this country. I have the right to say and think what I want. It’s got nothing to do with my position. If it helps someone think one way or another about something, great. But the discussion has to take place.
Obviously, race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly, it’s not going to get better. ‘Oh, they’re talking about that again. They pulled the race card again. Why do we have to talk about that?’ Well, because it’s uncomfortable. There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it’s the LGBT movement, or women’s suffrage, race, it doesn’t matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable, and especially white people, because we’re comfortable. We still have no clue what being born white means. And if you read some of the recent literature, you realize there really is no such thing as whiteness. We kind of made it up. That’s not my original thought, but it’s true.
It’s hard to sit down and decide that, yes, it’s like you’re at the 50-meter mark in a 100-meter dash. You’ve got that kind of a lead, yes, because you were born white. You have advantage that are systemically, culturally, psychologically rare. And they’ve been built up and cemented for hundreds of years. But many people can’t look at it that way, because it’s too difficult. It can’t be something that’s on their plate on a daily basis. People want to hold their position, people want their status quo, people don’t want to give that up. Until it's given up, it’s not going to be fixed."
"The collide of Sports, Politics, and Culture"
"There’s a lot involved in that when you say culture and politics and sports. People write books about that. I would hesitate to take that on as a whole. It makes more sense to me to be a bit more specific, and I’ll just tell you what we say to our team.
Each one of them has the right and ability to say what they would like to say, and act the way they’d like to act. They have our full support and no matter what they might want to do or not do is important to them, respected by us, and there’s no recrimination no matter what might take place, unless it’s ridiculous egregious. There’s a line for everything. But we do live in a difficult time and it doesn’t do a whole lot of good ...
We all know the situation and it gets beaten up every day by talking heads, it starts to get personal. I think we all know why, we all know who the source where a lot of the division comes from, but to dwell on that is sometimes I think is the wrong way to go, because it’s so obvious now. It’s boring. The childishness, the gratuitous fear mongering and race baiting, has been so consistent that it’s almost expected. The bar has been lowered so far that I think it’s more important to be thinking about what to do in more organic roots based level. Thinking about the efforts to restrict voter registration, comments that demean cultures, ethnic groups, races, women. Those sorts of things. What can be done in an organic way to fight that?
We know how everything happens, we know where the power in the country is, we know the racism that exists. But it’s gone beyond that to a point where I’m more worried about, and confused by, the people around our president. These are intelligent people who know exactly what’s going on. They basically were very negative about his actions but now it seems like it’s condoned. We saw it this weekend with his comments about people who should be fired or people who shouldn’t be allowed to do this sort of thing. I wonder what the people think about who voted for him, where their line is, how much they can take, where does the morality and decency kick in?
I understand very well they didn’t like their choice, economically. A lot of people had a problem. And he was the right guy at the right time to tap into that mood. But people overlooked one helluva lot to pull that trigger and vote in that direction, but it was because they wanted change, they felt ignored, they actually thought something would happen that would aid them. But at what price, is the question.
And as we see the actions over and over again, one wonders what is in their head. Have they come to the conclusion that they had the wrong vehicle? They might have had good ideas, good reasons why they wanted to go the way they went. But someone else that had a little bit more decency about how they approach other people and other groups might have served better. That’s what I worry about in the country.
You wonder about if you live where you thought you live. I just heard a comment this morning from a NASCAR owner and Mr. Petty that just blew me away, just blew me away. Where the owner described that he would get the Greyhound bus tickets for anybody to leave, and they’d be fired, and Mr. Petty, who said people who act the way we saw Sunday, they should leave the country. That’s where I live. I had no idea that I lived in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing. I’m not totally naive but I think these people have been enabled by an example that we’ve all been given. You’ve seen it in Charlottesville, and on and on and on. That’s not a surprise. Get over it. What do we do to get it done. To go to the grassroots and not allow this to happen again.
Our country’s an embarrassment to the world. This is an individual who actually thought that when people held arms during the game, that they were doing it to honor the flag. That’s delusional. Absolutely delusional. But it’s what we have to live with.
So we have a choice. We can continue to bounce our heads off the wall with his conduct, or we can decide that the institutions of our country are more important, that people are more important, that the decent America that we all thought we had and want is more important, and get down to business at a grassroots level and do what we have to do.
I guess that’s enough for now." concluded Coach Popovich
Media day may have been cut a bit short this year but I think we all know, especially Coach Popovich, what is important. Coach Pop isn't just a coach around San Antonio, he is a leader around the world. He practices the fundamentals of doing what is right.
Just last Friday NBA Commissioner Adam Silver sent a memo to teams on Friday saying that he expected players and coaches to stand for the national anthem before all games, as is the rule. In the memo, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum suggested that teams use their opening games “to demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community,” according to the New York Daily News.
During Media Day Coach Pop also made clear he would never tell his players how to act during the National Anthem.
What will Pop do now that NBA Commissioner has made standing during the anthem a rule?
Play the 3rd verse of the Anthem and then relook at your rule Mr. Commissioner!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror
of flight, or the gloom of the grave:And the star-spangled
banner in triumph doth wave, O'er the land of the free and
the home of the brave.Again are we are standing for a
song blindly and not the meanings of the verses?
San Antonio will remain behind the Spurs and Coach Popovich a million percent. Will the Spurs kneel, stand, sit, or stay in the locker room?
Will Pop have to go along with the Commissioner's 'must stand rule'?
Time will tell and hopefully within that time Popovich has opened at least one white eye to the privilege they were born with and never acquired.