Spurs’ Popovich criticizes Tennessee lawmakers, calls for gun control

9-minute speech came prior to season finale versus Dallas Mavericks

Gregg Popovich, Keita Bates-Diop, Keldon Johnson talk San Antonio Spurs win in Austin

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich during his pregame presser on Sunday made yet another passionate plea for gun control and once again called out US legislators, criticizing the way they’ve handled gun violence in the country.

Popovich, who has used his platform before to speak on gun control, provided his latest feelings in a nearly nine-minute monologue prior to the Spurs’ 138-117 season finale win over the Dallas Mavericks.

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“You know, the greed of the gun lobbies and the manufacturers is obvious,” Popovich said. “We all know that. Money talks, but the cowardice and the selfishness of the legislators who are so scared to death of being primaried and losing their job, losing their power, losing their salary — you’d like to get each one of ‘em in a room just one by one and say, ‘What’s more important to you? If you could vote for some good gun safety laws that most of the public agrees to, would you do that if it saved one kid? Or is your job and your money so important to you that you would say, screw the kid? What’s, what’s in your mind?’”

He called out several Republican lawmakers, including Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn and Governor Bill Lee, in response to the recent Tennessee school shooting.

“I mean, I couldn’t believe it, so I wrote this thing down,” Popovich said. “But Senator Marsha Blackburn, her comment after was, after the massacre, ‘My office is in contact with federal, state and local officials and we stand ready to assist.’

“In what?! They’re dead! What are you going to assist with? Cleaning up their brains off the wall? Wiping the blood off the schoolroom floor? What are you going to assist with?” Popovich said. “And then there’s Governor Lee. I’m sorry to go on and on, but Bill Lee, ‘I’m closely monitoring the tragic situation. Please join us in prayer.’ What are you monitoring? They’re dead! Children, they’re dead.”

The Spurs coach also shared his own feelings talking about having to drive to school to pick up his 6- and 11-year-old grandkids and worrying if they’re safe. Popovich described the refusal to make more gun control legislation as a product of the “myth of the Second Amendment”.

“And most of you, when we were in school, we worried if Nancy would dance with us on Friday after the football game or something. That was our anxiety. But they’re gonna cloak all this stuff in the myth of the Second Amendment, the freedom. It’s a myth, a joke. It’s just a game they play. Is it freedom for kids to go to school, and try to socialize, and try to learn, and be scared to death that they might die that day?”

Popovich, 74, is the longest-tenured NBA coach and just finished his 27th season. He’s previously spoken on gun control following the mass shooting at Robb Elementary in Uvalde that left 19 students and two teachers dead.

Before Sunday’s game, the Spurs had already been eliminated from playoff contention. Popovich was recently chosen for the NBA’s Hall-of-Fame and has coached the Spurs to five NBA championships. He has yet to say if he’ll return to the bench next season.


About the Author

Ben Spicer is a digital journalist who works the early morning shift for KSAT.

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