‘We think about ourselves more than the group:’ Gregg Popovich blasts anti-maskers amid COVID-19 spread

‘It’s just beyond my comprehension how somebody can talk about not wearing a mask shows that you’re for freedom’

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, right, talks with Lonnie Walker IV (1) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP) (Kevin C. Cox, 2020 Getty Images)

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke publicly Monday about President Donald Trump for the first time since the November election.

During a virtual team media availability on Monday, Popovich ripped into Trump for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, at one point referring to Trump as a circus ring leader and saying the president is “maybe the best Barnum and Bailey guy ever to walk the face of the earth.

“He can do what he needs to do for himself. He can intimidate. He can coerce. He can trick people. He is the best at it,” said Popovich. “He doesn’t really know anything. He can’t plan anything. He can’t manage anything so that’s why there is always chaos. And from that, he figures out how to spin things and we have what we’ve had for the last four years.”

A staunch opponent of the president, Popovich continued his criticism toward Trump and his leadership as the country nears 15 million cases in the midst of a new wave of infections.

As of Monday afternoon, there have been nearly 282,000 COVID-related deaths in the U.S., according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ve got more people dying now compared to 9/11 and compared to the wars, but what does he do? He golfs and spreads lies,” said Popovich. “He has nothing whatsoever to do with what’s going on here. So it’s sad, but soon it will be over and we just hope he doesn’t burn the whole thing down on his way out.”

The Spurs head coach said he is optimistic with the transition of power in the Oval Office, saying President-elect Joe Biden will show “empathy, leadership” and have a plan to combat the coronavirus as opposed to “our current president who can’t manage anything.”

During Monday’s zoom conference call, Popovich voiced his frustration with anti-maskers not taking the virus seriously, saying he was “disappointed in the fiber of our populous.”

“We’re still more of an instant-gratification country. We think about ourselves more than the group, more than the community. It’s just beyond my comprehension how somebody can talk about not wearing a mask shows that you’re for freedom and you’re for America and you’re for personal choice, when it has nothing to do with that,” said Popovich, an Air Force veteran.

“Intellectually, philosophically, emotionally, we’re all in this together. We’re all in the mud. We’re trying to save each other’s ass. But a large group of people can’t project and go beyond themselves and that’s very disappointing. And I think it’s sad for the country.”

The CDC recommends that everyone 2 years of age and older should wear a mask in public settings and when they are around people who do not live in their household.

According to the CDC, masks should still be worn in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart or social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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About the Author:

RJ Marquez is co-host of KSAT News Now and reports for Good Morning San Antonio. He's been at KSAT since 2010 and covered a variety of stories and events across the San Antonio area. He also covers the Spurs for on-air and digital platforms, including his Spurs newsletter. RJ has reported stories for KSAT Explains.