He called the president’s behavior embarrassing
Image via RJ Marquez/Twitter
As the San Antonio Spurs readied themselves to face the top-seeded Golden State Warriors for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, you’d think they’d have nothing on their mind but basketball, especially the coach. However, a reporter asked Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich at the pregame press conference if the events of the outside world had distracted him from his work. And the coach acknowledged that—like many of us—it has been hard to tune out the White House’s strange behavior and just focus on his daily tasks.
“There’s a cloud, a pall over the whole country, in a paranoid, surreal sort of way,” Popovich told reporters. “It’s got to do with the way one person conducts himself and, it’s embarrassing. It’s dangerous to our institutions and what we all stand for and what we expect this country to be. But for this individual, he’s in a game show.”
Popovich has repeatedly spoken out against President Donald Trump this season. In the days after the election, he gave one of the most concise and heartfelt critiques of the then president-elect, speaking up for those who felt their voices were being drowned out:
“What gives me so much pause and makes me feel so badly that the country is willing to be that intolerant and not understand the empathy that's necessary to understand other group's situations. I'm a rich white guy, and I'm sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can't imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person. How disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it's just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all of that. My final conclusion is—my big fear is—we are Rome.”
It’s a favored pasttime of Trump supporters to paint anyone who criticizes the 45th president as an out of touch coastal elite. That description certainly doesn't fit Popovich. The 68-year-old grump—who has led the Spurs to five NBA titles—grew up in Indiana, graduated from the Air Force Academy, and served five years in that branch of the military. His biography, combined with his astute, no-frills critiques has been what makes Pop’s monologues land with such force when he delivers them. Fortunately, he has yet to back off from his core convictions and will hopefully continue to speak out.
Here are his comments today in full: