How Long Will NBA Fans Tolerate Trump-Bashing by Head Coaches?
The NBA is not learning the lessons of ESPN.
The success of NBA San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich cannot be denied. In his professional career, the Popovich-led Spurs have won five championships. Popovich is also a military vet. Fluent in Russian and armed with an Air Force Academy degree in Soviet studies, his first post was as an intelligence officer assigned to a top-secret facility operating spy satellites. He also played and coached basketball for the Air Force during his five years of active duty, achieving the rank of captain.
So the man is not without experience and insight.
Here’s the problem. On several occasions, Popovich has teed off on Donald Trump, the first condemnation taking place just days after Trump’s election: "It’s still early and I’m still sick to my stomach. Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and I live in that country where half the country ignored all that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me. … I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, how disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all that. And so, my final conclusion is — my big fear is — we are Rome."