Spurs defend Gregg Popovich for standing instead of kneeling during national anthem

Despite the majority of NBA players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stood.

8/1/2020 10:08:00 PM

Popovich has often defended former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality and criticized President Donald Trump for his racially divisive rhetoric.

Despite the majority of NBA players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stood.

USA TODAYLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla — The accomplished NBA coach has forcefully spoken out on systemic racism both through words and action. But despite the majority of NBA players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stood before the Kings-Spurs games on Saturday. Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon also stood.

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"I prefer to keep that to myself," said Popovich, who is the head coach of USA Basketball and graduated from United States Air Force Academy in 1970 ."Everybody has to make a personal decision. The league has been great about that. Everybody has the freedom to react any way that they want. For whatever reasons that I have, I reacted the way I wanted to."

Beforehand, Popovich had said that each player and coach should decide what they should do during the anthem. In an NBA recorded PSA, however, Popovich stressed the importance for the country at large to continue its protests and efforts to fight racial inequality. Popovich has often defended former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Popovich has already criticized President Donald Trump for his racially divisive rhetoric.

"With Pop and Becky standing, I have no thoughts (contrary to) belief in them that is all out of genuine, out of a positive side of their heart," Spurs forward DeMar DeRozan said."Same way we kneel. Don't take away nothing from those guys. Pop speaks out. When it comes to Becky, she's been (on the) front line, fighting for equality since I've been a fan of hers playing in the WNBA. So everybody has their own right of making a statement and you can't vilify nobody for not doing what the other group is doing. I'm all for it."

Sights and sounds inside the bubbleLike the opening games, Friday's matchups began with more demonstrations during the national anthem. Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac did not kneel for the national anthem with the rest of the team. Isaac later said he discussed his decision with teammates, who supported his choice.

Portland Trail Blazers big man Jusuf Nurkic made his triumphant return to the court 16 months after suffering a gruesome broken leg but later said he played with a heavy heart. After the Blazers' win, Nurkic revealed his grandmother is in a coma in Bosnia after contracting COVID-19. He made an emotional plea for people to treat the pandemic seriously:"Please take care of yourself. Wear a damn mask."

Marcus Smart expressed his displeasure with a key call late in the Boston Celtics' loss against the Milwaukee Bucks. Smart appeared to draw a charge on Giannis Antetokounmpo with 1:28 left that would have been the Bucks star's sixth foul. After a review, though, officials changed the call to a blocking foul on Smart. Antetokounmpo scored on the play and hit the ensuing free throw to put Milwaukee ahead 110-107 on their way to a 119-112 win.

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"The excuse was I was late on the charge," Smart said afterwards."The replay center said I was late and it was a block. Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. Giannis has six fouls. They didn't want to get him out. Let's just call a spade a spade. That's just what it is."

Jaylen Brown had Smart's back, taking to Instagram after the game to post a picture of two people holding hands with the superimposed heads of Antetokounmpo and referee Ken Mauer.Spotted among the virtual fans on the video screen for the Rockets-Mavericks game: Dallas legend Dirk Nowitzki.

Read more: USA TODAY »

If we didn’t know papovich history this would be a story. There’s no story here. Go troll someone else!! He is obviously....RACIST!!!!!!!! Pop doesn’t need to kneel to show where his heart is. His words speak—have always spoken— louder than this action. Love the guy! Of course he should stand. They all should. There's no defending the kneeling, tho.

Maybe he has bad knees and can’t easily kneel Lol most of them out towels under their knees. if it hurts to kneel just STAND. It's his right!! I love GreggPopovich 🙌🏾🙌🏾💙 He's old. And his words do the kneeling for him. 1. No one should be vilified for what they do during the anthem. Stand, kneel, buy a beer, go to the restroom. 2. The anthem should not be played before sporting events. Its not played before anyone else begins working. 3.Kudos to the first owner with the guts to stop playing it.

Popovich does not need to offer any explanation whatsoever. So now people are mad for those that stand? If they choose to kneel or stand is up to them leave them alone let everyone deal w things in their own way my goodness Only an idiot would doubt greggpopovic commitment to racial equality. I committed to my general order to salute all colors a half century ago. But I would stand by anyone protesting white supremacy and calling out my white privilege.

Why do they kneel? George Floyd was murdered from a kneeling cop... Kneeling is a symbol of submission. Please choose a better symbol. This is really embarrassing. My guess is that if he kneeled down he wouldn't be able to get up without help. Rust in them joints? Why is it necessary to defend him,its his choice,he's a man with proven integrity,and it's his fucking choice.

I don’t care as much as I did about the NBA. I’m too busy with trying to stay alive and keep my business afloat to watch millionaires play a game. The cause is real and far from over for people of color. Put yourself in the shoes of the Compton and Los Angeles County community after this recently hit the news

It’s embarrassing you all just wan be seen helping the man up off his knees he’s not having it Really? How come you have to make the title about Trump. You all are the primary problem continuing to divide the country. Why can’t you just say that this person believed In free speech and peaceful protests? 🤦🏼‍♀️

Liberals have so thoroughly screwed this country up, we have to defend ourselves when we show this country respect. How insane is that? Putin must be laughing his ass off. Maybe Popovich is standing but still a Weak Democrat leader because of his voice . This will be over soon as everyone realizes that all Americans has rights and we all will stand up again for America. I would love to see this again!

Sports has now gone the way of Hollywood. I thought they were being paid to entertain. Now they are just paid protesters. Billions of dollars spent to protest. Racially divisive? Apparently, Poppovich didn’t hear Obama’s pep rally speech the other day at John Lewis’ funeral. Right wingers: “But Popp didn’t place his right hand on his left chest during the anthem. Fucking traitor”.

What is there to defend. He can stand. The NBA is so F'd up. Glad now that I quit watching years ago. If he wants to stand, he'll stand. It's a free country Popovich is borderline Marxist- won’t watch NBA again So what does that have to do with him standing 🤣 LOL...The SJWs turn on each other quick huh Why does the media have to highlight when someone doesn't stand..answer to try and make people out to be against racism when they clearly aren't.

AllLivesMatter. How many of these players have read what blm says they believe on their website? They are completely anti American. We don't need people like that in our country. Golive in China. Puppy Puppyvich is an idiot. Leave Texas More FAKE NEWS from USA Today. Trump has not been divisive, just truthful about many of the Hispanics entering the U.S. illegally. Their criminal activity is well known.

But he didn't say sh*t about racist Joe the slow mo... Pop is getting on up there, physically can he get down on one knee. VOTE I don't get it. If you stand for the national anthem you do not have to explain yourself. Only a small group is kneeling they look like the crazy people. Pop is real Thanks for reporting. The middle majority (the ones with jobs and money to buy tickets and advertised products) is boycotting bring your politics to work. We lived 5 months without sports, and we learned it wasn't the end of the world. Have a good season.

PopovichIsAnIdiot Pop's solidarity is beyond question. We've known his heart forever. We know he's as anti Trump as it gets and he's been on board with BLM from the get go. This is a non story. Shaming History to make Racism Reinvent in 2020!! HOW STUPID DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO BELIVE THIS BULL SHIT!! Marxist will use anything Against you! What has Marxism done for you but Create ANARCHY! Trained MARXIST!!

He probably can’t get up oldpeopleproblems 🤣🤣🤣 You're not truly woke unless you're doing the worm during the anthem. 🤮 There is no coach except for maybe a Steve Kerr that has been so vocal in their support for the players and social issues. If people are criticizing him then they don’t know what they are talking about

really surprised the old idiot Popovich didn't kneel, good for him, but he still sucks.

NBA's Jonathan Isaac Stands For National Anthem, Didn't Wear BLM ShirtOrlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart ... deciding against kneeling or wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. Let me guess how long before hes cancelled 3...2...1... A free thinker? no way

Magic's Jonathan Isaac stands for national anthem as teammates, opponents kneelOrlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the lone player to stand during the national anthem on Friday as his teammates and Brooklyn Nets players knelt to protest racial injustice and police brutality. Think for yourself. Freedom of speech right? Freedom to kneel.. freedom to stand. No issues here. NoAntiBlackRacism CutTheCheck

New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz players kneel during national anthem prior to league's restartThe NBA is finally back -- and ahead of the first game of the league's restart, players from both teams joined coaches and referees to kneel during the national anthem. Screw you fox for showing basketball, baseball and football upcoming better cancel your programs get some of that BLM money back Maybe you'd prefer they riot instead?

LeBron James Leads NBA Players Kneeling For National Anthem In NBA RestartPowerful moment from the NBA restart -- where every single player on both the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz took a knee in solidarity during the national anthem. Powerful images Total 🐂💩 China is pleased

NBA Players, Coaches, Refs Kneel For National Anthem In 1st Game of RestartPowerful moment from the NBA restart -- where every single player on both the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz took a knee in solidarity during the national anthem. great... they're still fundraising for the democrats. i be like, hey, stand up pussy!

NBA Players Kneel During National Anthem on Restart’s Opening NightPlayers, coaches and referees knelt in a coordinated protest before the start of the Jazz-Pelicans game. The NBA signaled that it would not enforce a longstanding rule prohibiting anthem protests. 🥱 6 WHITE PALLBEARERS? For JohnLewisFuneral Didn't watch it🤷‍♀️