Ever since Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the National Anthem of an NFL preseason game, an age-old discussion about the treatment of African-Americans in this country has heated up. One man who has never been afraid to speak his mind, has recently joined the conversation with a particularly interesting take.
Head coach of the San Antonio Spurs, Gregg Popovich, recently opened up in an interview on how “race is the elephant in the room in our country” these days.
Here’s what he had to say:
“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,” Pop said. “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.”
Popovich went on to explain why he supports the recent actions taken by athletes around the country to raise awareness of these issues:
“Change really seems to happen through political pressure,” Popovich said. “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. 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.”
In a way, the five-time NBA champion coach is merely elaborating on the meaning of “white privilege” in our country. His point seems to be that it’s nearly impossible for white people to understand what African-Americans are going through because they are, in fact, white, and have not lived a day as an African-American in this country.
Popovich also made it clear that he would not oppose any demonstration of protest from his players this upcoming season:
“My players are engaged citizens who are fully capable of understanding what their values are, what they think is appropriate, inappropriate, 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 gonna be gone.”