San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, 71, says he’s “embarrassed as a white person” that a white man could allegedly murder a black man, referencing George Floyd, and suggesting such “lynchings” are commonplace in 2020 America.
“In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer’s face,” Popovich said in a video posted by the Spurs, according to The Associated Press. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday-going-about-his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson — and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.”
“I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen,” he continued. “To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees. … But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.”
Floyd died last week after a police officer had his knee on the 46-year-old’s neck for over eight minutes during an arrest, as shown in viral video footage. That officer has been charged with second-degree murder.
“It’s like the neighborhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something’s going to happen someday, and nobody does anything,” Popovich said. “And then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up. Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up — quickly — because our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race.”
The NBA coach then told “white people” that it’s “on us” to call out “racism.”
“We have to do it,” he said. “Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years. “The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience, and effort of black people. The history of our nation from the very beginning in many ways was a lie, and we continue to this day, mostly black and brown people, to try to make that lie a truth so that it is no longer a lie. And those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color, just like we enjoy them. So it’s got to be us, in my opinion, that speaks truth to power, and call it out, no matter what the consequences. We have to speak. We have to not let anything go.”
During the highly political video, Popovich ironically suggested he doesn’t want to “get too political” as he linked alleged unchecked systemic racism to the lack of anti-gun legislation.
Rioting, looting, violence, and even, allegedly, murder have spiked across the nation in conjunction with the protesting of Floyd’s death, with riots popping up in cities like Minneapolis, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, New York City, Rochester, Richmond, and many others.
Since the incident, all four officers involved in Floyd’s arrest have been fired, investigations from the FBI and state law enforcement have been opened. Additionally, the officer at the center of the incident was taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder and the other three officers involved in the arrest have also been charged.
“It’s got to be us that speak truth to power, that call it out no matter the consequences. We have to not let anything go. Our country is in trouble and the basic reason is race.”#SpursVoices pic.twitter.com/uTyOIzGnTg
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) June 6, 2020
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