The head coach of the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA, Gregg Popovich lashed out at the president Donald Trump for his response to protests over the death of George Floyd and called for profound changes to tackle racism in the United States.
Popovich's statements, made on Sunday to the weekly The Nation, were released on Monday coinciding with a joint statement by the NBA coaching staff collective in which they pledged to promote actions against racism.
Popovich, a fierce critic of Trump for years, told The Nation that police violence and racism in the United States laid the foundation for the riots that have occurred in some cities during the Floyd crime rallies. .
"What strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism and we have seen it all before, but nothing changes," said Popovich one of the most reputable coaches of the NBA and winner of five championships.
«This is why these protests have been so explosive. But without leadership and without an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change, "he said. “And white Americans have always avoided considering this problem because it has been our privilege to be able to avoid it. That also has to change.
The death of Floyd, a 46-year-old African-American man, following a brutal arrest a week ago in Minneapolis, Minnesota, unleashed the biggest wave of recent protests. decades in America.
In a public intervention, following Popovich's statements, Trump assured on Monday that he will restore order in the United States, threatening to deploy the military if the violent acts in the protests do not stop.
"I am horrified that we have a leader who cannot say 'Black lives matter.' He cannot because it is more important to him to appease the small group of followers who validate his madness. So he hides in the basement of the White House. He is a coward. Create a situation and run away like an elementary student. Actually, I think it's better to ignore it. There is nothing I can do to improve this because he is a deranged idiot. In the end, what we have is an idiot instead of a president, "said Popovich.
This Monday, Popovich and the rest of the NBA coaches signed a joint statement pledging to work with the authorities and police agencies in their cities against racism.
"Witnessing the murder of George Floyd in cold blood and in broad daylight has traumatized our nation, but the reality is that African Americans are harassed and abused daily," the technicians said.
«As NBA coaches, we cannot treat this as an isolated incident of outrage (…) We are committed to working in our NBA cities with local leaders, officials and law enforcement agencies to create a positive change in our communities ”, stated in the text 33 NBA head coaches and more than 150 assistant coaches, including the Spain coach and assistant at the Toronto Raptors, Sergio Scariolo .
An official autopsy released Monday determined that Floyd died of "murder" from "neck compression" when a police officer immobilized him by kneeling him in the neck for nearly nine minutes.
"In other words, he was killed," Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr who according to the ESPN network, along with Popovich and other technicians, said on Twitter. committee that will lead the actions of the union.
An officer has been arrested and charged with third-degree murder, and protesters are demanding that three other police officers who participated in the arrest also be prosecuted.
The NBA has massively joined the demands for justice for Floyd's crime and for the end of racial discrimination, including teams, dozens of players and some of his greatest legends, such as Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson.
Several young players, such as Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics), participated in the marches over the weekend. This Monday also did the young figure of the Atlanta Hawks Trae Young at a demonstration in the city where he grew up, Norman (Oklahoma).
“I am not used to doing this. But, although I am 21 years old, I think it is necessary. It is not about me or you. We have to unite and do it together, there will be justice and there will be changes if we do it together, "said the All Star base from the stage.