As the NBA and WNBA have made their respective returns to the court in recent weeks, players have regularly used their interview and press conference time to continue shining a spotlight on issues of social justice and racism. Many are using their opening statements to continue calling for justice for Breonna Taylor, encourage people to vote, and more.
Coaches have gotten involved as well, and on Sunday one of the league’s most outspoken coaches over the years on issues of politics and social justice, Gregg Popovich, took his first question on Marco Belinelli’s status for their game against the Grizzlies and preceded his answer with a lengthy explanation of the deep-seeded history of voter suppression in the United States that targets the Black community and other minorities.
The first question to Gregg Popovich in this afternoon's pregame Zoom session: Will Marco Belinelli be available today?
This was his answer 👇 pic.twitter.com/AatAoPAHBx
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) August 2, 2020
As Popovich notes, these are the types of history lessons that are rarely taught to Americans, as issues of voter suppression and racism are typically not focal points of American history courses. As such, Popovich feels that spotlighting these things are critical to making people confront how long this country has spent trying to disenfranchise Black and minority voters through things like literacy tests and poll taxes — with the modern day version happening in Florida right now with ex-felons being forced to pay all debts to the state before being allowed to vote.
As we move forward through sports restart, continuing to use these moments to keep the message about the importance of not stopping with the fight for justice at the forefront and using the time to present people with facts like these is a great way to utilize the platform they have and help disseminate information to people that might otherwise be unknown.