The legendary San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has long been one of the most outspoken voices in American sport. While other white voices in sport have often stayed away so as not offend anyone, Pop has always said it like it is, speaking out against injustice and inequality in the States for many years.
While the fact that he is no fan of Donald Trump will come as no surprise to anyone, the vitriol and strength of his words on the current crisis represent a new emphasis - a reflection on the new low in which America and its leadership finds itself in.
Speaking to Dave Zirin of The Nation, Pop came out in support of the protests which have followed the killing by police of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minnesota. He also attacked the Republican party for their reaction and their propping up of Donald Trump. His most devastating words though were left for Trump himself, who he called a coward, a destroyer, and an deranged idiot.
If there is ever a man that uses his privilege for good is Coach Gregg Popovich 🗣 thank you for standing with BLM!! pic.twitter.com/VVq7NbHOfU
— Yara Islam (@YaraIslam2000) June 1, 2020
"It’s unbelievable. If Trump had a brain, even if it was 99 percent cynical, he would come out and say something to unify people. But he doesn’t care about bringing people together. Even now. That’s how deranged he is. It’s all about him. It’s all about what benefits him personally. It’s never about the greater good. And that’s all he’s ever been," Popovich told Zirin.
It’s so clear what needs to be done. We need a president to come out and say simply that ‘black lives matter.’ Just say those three words. But he won’t and he can’t. He can’t because it’s more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity. But it’s more than just Trump. The system has to change. I’ll do whatever I can do to help, because that’s what leaders do. But he can’t do anything to put us on a positive path, because he’s not a leader.
He’s not just divisive. He’s a destroyer. To be in his presence makes you die. He will eat you alive for his own purposes. I’m appalled that we have a leader who can’t say ‘black lives matter.’ That’s why he hides in the White House basement. He is a coward. He creates a situation and runs away like a grade-schooler. Actually, I think it’s best to ignore him. There is nothing he can do to make this better because of who he is: a deranged idiot.
The reaction of sports people, administrators and media in America has been unified and appropriate throughout this whole process, but it's going to be very tough for anyone to hit as hard, or as accurately, as Coach Pop.
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