We’ve often seen that it unfortunately takes tragedy to effect change.
And that’s the analogy San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich used to compared race relations in our country, as protests against police brutality and racism continue across the United States.
The 71-year-old coaching legend, regarded highly for his wisdom as his basketball IQ, called for white people to speak up “no matter the consequences” because the “country is in trouble” in an emotional video.
“It’s like the neighborhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something’s going to happen someday, and nobody does anything,” Popovich said. “And then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up. Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up — quickly — because our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race.”
Popovich expressed how deeply disturbed he was by the viral video of George Floyd’s murder by a Minneapolis police officer. To actually watch the video and be faced with the reality, frankly, embarrassed Popovich.
“In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer’s face,” Popovich said. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday-going-about-his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson — and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.
“I don’t know. … I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen. To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees. And you … are amazed. But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.”
A lot of people can relate to that sentiment. Watch Popovich’s full statement below.
“It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoices pic.twitter.com/uTyOIzGnTg
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2020