San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gave his thoughts on Black History Month, calling the treatment of black Americans the country’s “national sin.”
Popovich has been one of the most outspoken coaches in the NBA, particularly during President Donald Trump’s political ascendancy. Popovich has regularly criticized Trump’s policies and rhetoric, especially regarding minorities and women.
When asked about Black History Month, which is in February, Popovich said the month should be treated as a remembrance and celebration.
“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,” he said. “But more than anything, I think if people take the time to think about it, I think it is our national sin.
“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,” Popovich added. “And it’s in our national discourse.”
Popovich also criticized Trump for leading the birther movement, which falsely claimed President Obama was not born in the United States.
“We have a president of the United States who spent four or five years disparaging and trying to illegitimize our president, and we know that was a big fake, but [he] still felt for some reason that it had to be done,” he said. “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. If it’s being discussed and perpetrated at that level, then you have a national problem.”
*Originally posted on Sports Illustrated.