Spurs' Gregg Popovich Pulls No Punches On Trump Criticism; Players Across NBA Weigh In
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich yesterday "did not hold back" in criticism of President Trump and comments he made over the weekend, according to a front-page piece by Jeff McDonald of the SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS. Popovich, speaking at Spurs media day, said, "You wonder about if you live where you thought you live. I had no idea that I lived in a country where people would actually say that sort of thing" (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS, 9/26). Popovich said the U.S. is currently an "embarrassment to the world" (USA TODAY, 9/26). Popovich, who also blasted Trump following his inauguration, called Trump's rescinding of the Warriors' invitation to the White House "disgusting ... comical ... like a sixth-grader who was going to have a party in his backyard and he finds out somebody might not come, so he disinvites him." He added, "This is an individual who actually thought that when people held arms during the games that they were doing it to honor the flag. That's delusional. Absolutely delusional. But it's what we have to live with" (ESPN.com, 9/25). Cavaliers F LeBron James and other NBA players and team personnel commented on Trump yesterday, excerpts of which are below.
- Heat coach Erik Spoelstra: "It's a polarizing time right now. It's a disheartening time. I commend the Golden State Warriors for the decision they made. I commend the NFL players and organizations for taking a stand right now for equality for inclusion, for taking a stand against racism, bigotry, prejudice" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 9/26).
- Rockets G Chris Paul: "When ... you're supposed to be our leader, my kids shouldn't have to be looking at television seeing the leader saying the things he was saying" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 9/26).
- Pistons President of Basketball Operations and coach Stan Van Gundy: "As an athlete, you’re too stupid to speak out? But it’s OK for business people to speak out? Or you don’t want anybody to speak out? Generally what people mean is they don’t want anybody that disagrees with them to speak out" (DETROIT FREE PRESS, 9/26).
- Clippers coach Doc Rivers: "If Donald Trump did his job, players would not be kneeling at the end of the day, ’cause I don’t think anyone wants this country to do poorly. We all are cheering for this country to do well. So, do your job and players will stop kneeling" (L.A. TIMES, 9/26).
- Pelicans C DeMarcus Cousins: "The least of (Trump’s) concerns should be what’s going on in the NFL. We got world issues going on that are barely being talked about by him ... the leader of our nation. He needs to get his sh-- together" (LEXINGTON HERALD-LEADER, 9/26).
- Wizards G Bradley Beal: "To me, you’re a clown. To do something like this, that’s unacceptable. That’s not what a leader does, your job is supposed to bring everybody together. And everybody in the world feels that since you got in office that hasn’t been the case" (WASHINGTON POST, 9/26).
- Raptors G DeMar DeRozan: “You’ve got your President on Twitter more than a 12-year-old saying the most outrageous things" (NATIONAL POST, 9/26).
- Suns C Tyson Chandler: "Those kinds of comments only divide, they don’t bring people together. They’re also insulting. 'Son of a b---h,' it doesn’t get any more insulting than that. That wasn’t a shot at just NFL players, that was shot at humanity to be honest. But the one thing I see coming from this is I see guys stepping up and coming together from all walks of life" (ARIZONA REPUBLIC, 9/26).
- Celtics F Jaylen Brown: "We’ll open up a discussion about that and maybe do something as a team or just at least open up a dialogue about it" (BOSTON HERALD, 9/26).