Prior to Sunday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers, San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich ripped Republicans as well as Democratic Senators Joe Manchin (WV) and Kyrsten Sinema (AZ) for blocking voting legislation.
“As many have said, it’s been time, it’s past time for hardball,” Popovich said. “The Republican Senate will just not participate, they just will not. So, whatever can be done needs to be done. And Sinema and Manchin, they get it, but they don’t get it. They know what’s going on. They understand. But there are more important things to them, and it’s damn selfish and dangerous to our country.”
Popovich made the comments in a nine-minute interview where he discussed the Juneteenth holiday becoming a federal holiday, saying that that country is in a “dangerous situation.”
“It’s ironic, but as much as the community of color has been oppressed and denigrated, those are the people who try to save this damn country from itself,” Popovich said. “It’s just ironic to me. Every time we take steps forward, you get the backlash. The fact that the voting rights issue is in the situation it’s in is just mind boggling to me in one sense because we’ve already gone through this back in the Sixties, and we know what the Supreme Court did earlier in gutting it.”
“But it’s like we don’t get it. It’s like, maybe there wouldn’t be a democracy if it wasn’t for Black people,” he continued. “If you think about it, maybe this all would have happened 50, 60, 80 years ago if Black people didn’t continue to fight for what they deserve and what was promised.”
Both Manchin and Sinema have stated that they do not support ending the filibuster in order to pass a combination of the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.
“There’s no need for me to restate my longstanding support for the 60-vote threshold to pass legislation. There’s no need for me to restate its role in protecting our country from wild reversals of federal policy,” Sinema said according to Fox News. “This week’s harried discussions about Senate rules are but a poor substitute for what I believe could have and should have been a thoughtful public debate at any time over the past year.”
Last week, Alabama football coach Nick Saban and NBA Hall of Famer Jerry West were two of five sports figures to pen a letter to Sen. Manchin, urging him to support voter legislation “that will protect both the rights of voters and the integrity of outcomes in all Federal elections.”
Both West and Saban are West Virginians, with Saban born in Fairmont, West Virginia. West was born in Chelyan.
“We strongly support urgently needed legislation that will protect both the rights of voters and the integrity of outcomes in all Federal elections,” the letter to Manchin said. “The Freedom to Vote Act, which you sponsored with Committee Chair Senator [Amy] Klobuchar and other colleagues, effectively addressed these goals. Now we also support your leadership in shaping legislation to secure our democracy by protecting election integrity, principled Presidential transitions and our national security during transitions.”
“We come from some of our nation’s most popular sports leagues, conferences and teams. Some of us have roots and shaped our lives in West Virginia,” they continued. “Others followed very different paths and some of us have been rivals in sports or business. But we are all certain that democracy is best when voting is open to everyone on a level playing field; the referees are neutral; and at the end of the game the final score is respected and accepted.”
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to [email protected].