Gregg Popovich on Black History Month: 'A celebration' but 'a lot more work to do'
The Spurs head coach provided a thoughtful response on what Black History Month means to him
In advance of the San Antonio Spurs' Thursday night matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, coach Gregg Popovich spoke at length in response to a question from Jabari Young of the San Antonio Express-News: What does Black History Month mean to you?
The Spurs head coach, who has been outspoken on social issues in the past including a recent show of disapproval for President Trump's travel ban, gave an insightful answer.
"Well, it's a remembrance, and a bit of a celebration in some ways," Popovich said, via ESPN's Michael C. Wright. "It sounds odd because we're not there yet, but it's always important to remember what has passed and what is being experienced now by the black population. It's a celebration of some of the good things that have happened, and a reminder that there's a lot more work to do."
In addition to his comments about Black History Month, Popovich went off the board as well -- making light of President Donald Trump's questioning of Barack Obama's citizenship.
"Well, that was a lie," Popovich said of Trump's previous belief. "So if it's being discussed and perpetrated at that level, you've got a national problem."
Here is the full transcript of the response via ESPN. You can also listen to the audio of his response at the bottom of the post.
Well, it's a remembrance, and a bit of a celebration in some ways. It sounds odd because we're not there yet, but it's always important to remember what has passed and what is being experienced now by the black population. It's a celebration of some of the good things that have happened, and a reminder that there's a lot more work to do. But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin. It always intrigues me when people come out with, 'I'm tired of talking about that or do we have to talk about race again?' And the answer is you're damned right we do. Because it's always there, and it's systemic in the sense that when you talk about opportunity it's not about 'Well, if you lace up your shoes and you work hard, then you can have the American dream.' That's a bunch of hogwash. If you were born white, you automatically have a monstrous advantage educationally, economically, culturally in this society and all the systemic roadblocks that exist, whether it's in a judicial sense, a neighborhood sense with laws, zoning, education, we have huge problems in that regard that are very complicated, but take leadership, time, and real concern to try to solve. It's a tough one because people don't really want to face it. And it's in our national discourse. We have a president of the United States who spent four or five years disparaging and trying to illegitimatize our president. And we know that was a big fake. But still, [he] felt for some reason it had to be done. I can still remember a paraphrase close to a quote "investigators were sent to Hawaii and you cannot believe what they found." Well, that was a lie. So if it's being discussed and perpetrated at that level, you've got a national problem. I think that's enough."
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