SAN ANTONIO – Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich blasted President Donald Trump in a fiery new interview Monday where he spoke out for the first time since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In an interview with The Nation, Popovich told Dave Zirin that he believes the reason protests across the country have been so “explosive” is due to a lack of leadership.
“Without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change,” Popovich said.
The Spurs head coach went on to rip the president, calling Trump a “destroyer” and “divisive.”
“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 did not hold back and referred to Trump as a “coward” and compared him to a grade-schooler who runs away from a situation.
“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.”
Trump was not Popovich’s only target during the interview. Popovich also had some harsh words for U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who serves as Senate Majority Leader, saying McConnell is the person who “really runs the country.”
“McConnell has destroyed and degraded our judicial system. He has tried to destroy heath care. He’s destroyed the environment," said Popovich. "He’s the master and Trump’s the stooge, and what’s funny is that Trump doesn’t even know it.”
The article features more of Popovich’s thoughts on the protests. He believes they have been necessary, but “need to be organized better.”
Popovich alluded to organized protests with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and said more leadership would be welcome at mass demonstrations.
“If you’re just organizing protests and everyone is coming and going in every direction, it doesn’t work that way,” Popovich said.
The article comes on the heels of news Monday that Popovich has joined a committee of NBA coaches tasked to work with local and community leaders to find solutions on racial injustice and reform. He told Zirin that he is willing to do his part.
“It’s more than just Trump. The system has to change,” Popovich said. “I’ll do whatever I can do to help, because that’s what leaders do.”