Gregg Popovich has never been shy about using the platform he’s afforded as an NBA head coach to speak out about social issues. A vocal critic of Donald Trump, Popovich wades into the world of politics and the gigantic, structural issues that exist in the United States more than perhaps any other NBA coach. On Saturday, Popovich spoke out about the current moment of social upheaval in America in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.
In a video posted to the Spurs’ Twitter account as part of the organization’s ongoing “Spurs Voices” series, Popovich spoke candidly about the belief he has that the country is in a precarious position.
“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
“It’s like the neighborhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something’s going to happen someday, and nobody does anything,” Popovich said. “And then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up. Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up, quickly, because our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race.”
Popovich also dove into the Black community and its ongoing fight against the systemic oppression that has long existed in the United States. The former NBA Coach of the Year called on white individuals to “speak truth to power, that call [racism] out, no matter what the consequences.”
“We have to do it,” Popovich said. “Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years. The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, and 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.”
Popovich is, of course, nowhere near the only member of the NBA family to speak out since a police officer killed Floyd. Numerous individuals have taken to social media to demand change, while some have participated in protests across the United States over the last week-plus.