San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest of kneeling during the national anthem before NFL games, citing racial injustice and police brutality, has sparked a major reaction across the sports world. During the NBA’s media days around the country on Monday, players and coaches spoke out about the social issues the U.S. is facing.
San Antonio Spurs’ coach Gregg Popovich gave a pointed response when asked his thoughts about social unrest in the country.
“I think it’s really dangerous to answer such important questions that have confounded so many people for hundreds of years, to ask me to give you my solutions, as if I had any, in 30 seconds,” Popovich said. “So if you want to be specific about a question, I’ll be more than happy to answer it because I think race is the elephant in the room in our country. The social situation that we’ve all experienced is absolutely disgusting in a lot of ways. What’s really interesting is the people that jump right away to say, one is attacking the police, or the people that jump on the other side. It’s a question where understanding and empathy has to trump, no pun intended, has to trump any quick reactions of an ideological or demagogical nature. It’s a topic that can’t just be swung at; people have to be very accurate and direct in what they say and do.”
The New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, who was among those to open this year’s ESPYS with a plea to stop the violence, said the Knicks likely will do something collectively to address the social turmoil.