San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has delivered an explosive rebuke of President Donald Trump’s response to the civil unrest gripping the country over police brutality that led to the death of George Floyd.
Popovich, an outspoken Trump critic, deplored the president’s inability to calm tensions as racial divisions boil over in the country he leads. Since the police killing of Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis, Trump has inflamed the situation with his rhetoric on several occasions, facing bipartisan criticism for inciting violence and threatening protesters, as well as directing his frustrations toward Democratic leaders attempting to quell violence in their cities.
“The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism, and we’ve seen it all before, but nothing changes. That’s why these protests have been so explosive,” Popovich told The Nation reporter Dave Zirin in a Sunday night phone call. “But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change.”
“It’s unbelievable,” he added. “If Trump had a brain, even if it was 99% cynical, he would come out and say something to unify people.”
"it’s more than just Trump. The system has to change. I’ll do whatever I can do to help because that’s what leaders do. But Trump can’t do anything to put us on a positive path because he’s not a leader." - Coach Pophttps://t.co/oTIGSnVecG— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) June 1, 2020
“But he doesn’t care about bringing people together. Even now. That’s how deranged he is. It’s all about him. It’s all about what benefits him personally. It’s never about the greater good. And that’s all he’s ever been.”
He criticized the president’s apparent inability to “come out and say simply that ‘Black lives matter.’”
“Just say those three words. But he won’t and he can’t. He can’t because it’s more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity,” Popovich said. “He is a coward.”
“He’s not just divisive. He’s a destroyer,” he added.
The Spurs coach also called out Trump allies Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas), noting what they “used to say when they had the courage to say it: He’s unfit.”
Instead, they have chosen to stay “invisible and obsequious in the face of this carnage,” he said.
He called for more leadership so that the “incredible mass demonstrations can’t be used by people for other means” and concluded: “We need change. The system has to change.”
Read his full comments on The Nation below.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost.