Transcript via mysanantonio.com
What are your thoughts on what’s going on in the country?
“I think it’s really dangerous to answer such important questions that have confounded so many people for hundreds of years, to ask me to give you my solutions, as if I had any, in 30 seconds. So if you want to be specific about a question, I’ll be more than happy to answer it because I think race is the elephant in the room in our country. The social situation that we’ve all experienced is absolutely disgusting in a lot of ways. What’s really interesting is the people that jump right away to say, one is attacking the police, or the people that jump on the other side. It’s a question where understanding and empathy has to trump, no pun intended, has to trump any quick reactions of an ideological or demagogical nature. It’s a topic that can’t just be swung at, people have to be very accurate and direct in what they say and do.”
Do you support that athletes that are taking stands?
“I absolutely understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and I respect their courage for what they’ve done. The question is whether it will do any good or not because it seems that change really seems to happen through political pressure, no matter how you look at it. Whether it’s Dr. [Martin Luther] King getting large groups together and boycotting buses, or what’s happened in Carolina with the NBA and other organizations pulling events to make it known what’s going on. But I think the important thing that Kaepernick and others have done is to keep it in the conversation. When’s the last time you heard the name Michael Brown? With our 24/7 news, things seem to drift. We’re all trying to just exist and survive.
“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 that many black people have to deal with. It’s not just a rogue policeman, or a policeman exerting too much force or power, when we know that most of the police are just trying 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 country is exacerbated by the preponderance of guns that other countries don’t have to deal with. It gets very complicated.
“At this point, when somebody like Kaepernick brings attention to this, and others who have, it makes people have to face the issue because it’s too easy to let it go because it’s not their daily experience. If it’s not your daily experience, you don’t understand it. I didn’t talk to my kids about how to act in front of a policeman when you get stopped. I didn’t have to do that. All of my black friends have done that. There’s something that’s wrong about that, and we all know that. What’s the solution? Nobody has figured it out. But for sure, the conversation has to stay fresh, it has to stay continuous, it has to be persistent, and we all have a responsibility to make sure that happens in our communities.”
If your players protest, do you plan on talking to them about it?
“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. Whatever actions may or may not be taken are their decisions, and I’m not going to tell anyone ahead of time that if they don’t do A, B and C, they’re going to be gone or traded. I think that’s ignorant.”
Do you agree or disagree with that method of protest?
“I think to each his own. I think it depends on a person’s life experience, and what they value, and how strongly they feel about it. I don’t think a condemnation of any sort of act should happen until it’s thought out. For instance, with Kaepernick, a pretty good group of people immediately thought he was disrespecting the military. 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 going to be an element that wants to jump on a bandwagon, and that’s what’s unfortunate about our country. It’s gotten to a point where the civility and the level of discourse is basically in the gutter.
“I saw a wonderful clip on the news the other day, a split screen of Al Gore and George Bush, and they were debating. President Bush was saying something, and the split screen showed Al Gore sigh and shake his head. The commentator at the time said, ‘That’s rude, that rudeness isn’t going to fly.’ Compare that to now. It’s scary, it’s scary. It makes you think a little bit about who you’re supporting.”
Are you going to watch the debates tonight?
“I am going to have Serbian tacos, beers and cokes, and I’m watching every second of it.
Have you ever considered running for president. After all, you know how to win.
[Popovich laughs.] “Very clever, very clever. You all know me…I’d get in trouble real quickly.”
There are bumper stickers around town that say, “Popovich for President.” Have you seen them?
“I have. Very flattering, but misplaced. I’m not smart enough.”
Were you born in this country? Where’s your birth certificate?
[Popovich laughs.] “I was going to bring it, but I lost it.”
“Oh look at me. I’m Gregg Popovich. I give smart and thoughtful responses to questions about complex societal issues. I coach the best franchise in professional sports and still give better answers than people who were hired or elected to handle these issues. Ohhhhh.”
Fuck off dude.
P.S. “Popovich for President” is such a corny joke at this point. But like… it’s so fucking true. There honestly isn’t another person I’d want running this country more than Gregg Popovich. Abraham Lincoln himself could rise from the grave and I’d still take Gregg Popovich. Yeah it’s cool that he coaches basketball because basketball is the best but it’s almost kind of a shame that someone like him isn’t there to run the country. I don’t want to say his talents are “wasted” because I care infinitely more about sports than politics, but from a real life standpoint it does kind of suck. And seeing this answer today makes tonight just that much more depressing.
But hey, at least Basketball starts soon, right?