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Gregg Popovich speaks about national anthem protests during Spurs media day

Popovich says protests make people face issue, conversation needs to stay fresh

SAN ANTONIO – The Spurs held their 2016 media day on Monday at the team's training facility on the Northwest Side.

Aside from the normal media day coverage that featured player interviews and photos for various media outlets, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich shared his thoughts on players protesting the national anthem at sporting events.

Here is what the Spurs head coach had to say: 

"With our 24-7 news, things seem to drift, we're all just trying to exist and survive and it's easier for white people because we haven’t lived that experience. It's difficult for many white people to understand the day-to-day feeling many black people have to deal with."  

"It's not just a rogue policeman or a policeman exerting too much force or power. We know most of the police try to do their job which is very difficult. I’d be scared to death if I was a policeman and I stopped a car. You just don't know what's going to happen."

"And part of that in our society is exacerbated by the preponderance of guns that other countries don’t have to deal with. But this is very complicated." 

"At this point when someone like Kaepernick brings attention to this and others who have, it makes people face the issue. It’s too easy for people to let it go because it’s not their daily experience, and if its not your daily experience, you don’t understand it."

"I didn’t talk to my kids about how to act in front of the policeman when you get stopped. I didn’t have to do that. But all of my black friends have done that. There’s something wrong about that and we all know it." 

"What’s the solution? Nobody has figured it out, but for sure the conversation has to stay fresh, it has to be continuous, it has to be persistent and we all have a responsibility to make sure that happens in our communities."

Popovich was also asked what his response would be if his players protested in any manner:

“My players are engaged citizens who are fully capable of understanding what their values are, and what they think is appropriate and inappropriate, and what they feel strongly about.

"And whatever actions may or not be taken are their decisions. I'm not going to tell anyone ahead of time that if they don’t do A,B or C they are going to be gone or traded. I think that’s ignorant."

Popovich also discussed the method of Kaepernick's protest: 

"For instance with Kaepernick, a pretty good group of people immediately thought he was disrespecting the military, but it had nothing to do with his protest."

"In fact, he was able to do what he did because of what the military does for us. Most thinking people understand that, but there’s always an element that wants to jump on a bandwagon."


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