San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who is a long-time critic of Donald Trump and an advocate for civil rights in the US, has given his thoughts on the unrest of the last few weeks.
Popovich, who has won five NBA titles with the Spurs, said he believes the “country is in trouble” as he discussed the death of George Floyd.
“In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most-recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer’s face [during Floyd’s death],” Popovich said in a video published by the Spurs. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday going about his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson – and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.
“It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoices pic.twitter.com/uTyOIzGnTg— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2020
“I don’t know ... I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen. To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees. And you ... are amazed. But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.”
Popovich added that it the onus was on white people to solve the scourge of racism in the United States.
“We have to do it. Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years,” Popovich said. “The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience and effort of black people. The history of our nation from the very beginning in many ways was a lie, and we continue to this day, mostly black and brown people, to try to make that lie a truth so that it is no longer a lie. And those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color, just like we enjoy them. So it’s got to be us, in my opinion, that speak truth to power, and call it out, no matter what the consequences. We have to speak. We have to not let anything go.”