© 2024 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Member-Supported Public Media from Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

NBA coach Gregg Popovich criticizes lawmakers over gun control

San Antonio Spurs beach coach Gregg Popovich sits on the bench during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, April 9, 2023.
LM Otero
/
AP
San Antonio Spurs beach coach Gregg Popovich sits on the bench during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas, Sunday, April 9, 2023.

San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich made a long, impassioned speech Sunday condemning politicians' handling of gun violence in the U.S.

During a pregame news conference before the season's regular season finale against the Dallas Mavericks, Popovich, who has coached the Spurs for the past 27 years, bypassed conversations about his retirement and singled out congressional politicians such as Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and Jim Jordan for their apparent inaction.

He quoted Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn's response to a school shooting in Nashville two weeks ago, in which she said, "My office is in contact with federal, state, & local officials, & we stand ready to assist."

"In what?" Popovich said. "They're dead. What are you going to assist with? Cleaning up their brains off the wall? Wiping the blood off the schoolroom floor? What are you going to assist with?"

Popovich said he worries about his grandchildren when dropping them off at school.

"Most of you in this room, when we were in school, we worried if Nancy would dance with us on Friday after the football game or something," he said. "That was our anxiety."

The Second Amendment is "a myth, it's a joke, it's just a game they play," he added. "I mean, that's freedom. Is it freedom for kids to go to school and try to socialize and try to learn and be scared to death that they might die that day?"

Popovich has been outspoken about gun violence and other issues, such as race and LGBTQ+ rights in previous years.

"I don't think about some platform that I have," he said in 2017. "I'm an individual. I live in this country. I have the right to say and think what I want. It's got nothing to do with my position. If it helps somebody else think one way or the other about something, great. But the discussion has to take place."

Popovich isn't alone in the NBA in his calls for gun law reform. Last May, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr criticized lawmakers for their inaction on fundamental gun reform laws following deadly mass shootings at a Uvalde, Texas, school, at a Buffalo grocery store and at a Southern California church.

"We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want," Kerr said. "They won't vote on it, because they want to hold on to their own power."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Ayana Archie
As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.