SAN ANTONIO - Gregg Popovich did not mince words when discussing President Donald Trump at Spurs media day on Monday.
Popovich has been critical of Trump in the past and was asked about Trump’s recent comments about NFL players taking a knee or not standing during the national anthem.
The Spurs head coach said players have the right to speak out for what they believe in, and have full support from the organization. He added the players would be respected for their individual decisions and not be ostracized.
Popovich also discussed the country’s divisive political culture and current race relations.
"We all know the situation and it gets beaten up every day by talking heads," Popovich said. "It starts to get personal and I think we all know why, we know where the source is."
#Spurs Gregg Popovich discusses President Trumps comments, says his players have right to speak out, have full support #KSATsports #KSATnews pic.twitter.com/ASueVlmIvH — RJ Marquez (@KSATRJ) September 25, 2017
"The childishness and the gratuitous fear-mongering, race-baiting has been so consistent that it's also expected," Popovich said. "The bar has been lowered so far that I think it's more important to be thinking about what to do at a more organic roots based level."
He added discussions about the future of the country need to take place even if it makes people feel uncomfortable.
"Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that, but unless it's talked about constantly, it's not going to get better," Popovich said.
"There has to be an uncomfortable element in the discourse for anything to change, whether it's LGBT movement or women's suffrage, race, it doesn't matter. People have to be made to feel uncomfortable," Popovich said.
Popovich spoke about a television interview that he said represents the atmosphere Trump has created.
"I just heard a comment this morning from a NASCAR owner and from Mr. Petty that just blew me away. Mr. Petty said people that act the way we saw on Sunday should leave the country. I had no idea I live in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing," Popovich said. "Our country is an embarrassment to the world."
When asked about Trump's decision to rescind an invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House, Popovich fired again at Trump.
"I thought it was comical because they weren't going anyway," Popovich said. "Again, I think the behavior, although it's disgusting, it's also comical."
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