NBA coach Popovich issues emotional statement on death of George Floyd

SHOWS: INTERNET (JUNE 6, 2020) (SPURS VIA TWITTER - Broadcaster and Digital: NO ARCHIVE. NO RESALE)

1. (SOUNDBITE)(English) SAN ANTONIO SPURS HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH SPEAKING IN VIDEO POSTED TO SPURS TWITTER PAGE, SAYING:

"It's almost in a strange counter-intuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most recent tragedy, I think was the look on the officer's face...for white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, how just everyday going about his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson, and it was his right and his duty to do it in his mind...I don't know...I think I'm just embarrassed as a white person to know that that could happen, to actually watch a lynching. You know we've all seen books and you look in books and you see black people hanging off of trees, and you are amazed that we just saw it again, I never thought I'd see that with my own eyes, in real time."

2. (SOUNDBITE)(English) SAN ANTONIO SPURS HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH SPEAKING IN VIDEO POSTED TO SPURS TWITTER PAGE, SAYING:

"It's important that we as white people, because I think nothing's gonna happen, we have to do it, black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years, the only reason this nation has made the progress it has because the persistance and patience and effort of black people, you know the history of our nation from the very beginning, in many ways was a lie, and we continue to this day, mostly black and brown people that make that lie be truth, that it's no longer a lie and those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color just like we enjoy them. So it's gotta be us, in my opinion, that speak truth to power and call it out no matter what the consequences, we have to speak, we have to not let anything go. it's just a situation that is just very similar to me, it's like the gun arguments, what's it gonna take? Two more black people with knees on their necks? I don't think so. I don't think that's gonna happen. How many more Sandy Hooks do we have to have? It's easy for people to let things go, because it doesn't involve them. It's like the neighborhood where you know there's a dangerous corner, and you know that something's gonna happen one day and no one does anything and then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up, well without getting too political, we got a lot of stop signs that need to go up, quickly, because our country is in trouble, and the basic reason is race."

STORY: San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Saturday (June 6) issued an emotional statement about the death of George Floyd, saying the "country is in trouble" and that he is "embarrassed as a white person" to know that a black man can be still be "lynched".

Floyd's death in Minneapolis last month after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, placed a knee on his neck for nearly nine minutes, triggered outrage, protests and civil unrest across the United States. Chauvin has been charged with second-degree murder.

"In a strange, counter-intuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most recent tragedy ... was the look on the officer's face," Popovich said in a stirring video posted by Spurs on Twitter.

"For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, how just everyday-going-about-his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson ... and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.

"I think I'm just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen. To actually watch a lynching.

"I never thought I'd see that with my own eyes, in real time."

Popovich, 71, called on white people to raise their voices, speak truth to power "no matter what the consequences" and not let things lie.

"Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years," he said. "The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence, patience and effort of black people.

"What's it going to take? Two more black people with knees in their necks? I don't think so, I don't think that's going to happen.

"Our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race."

(Production: Stef Haskins and David Grip)

Video Transcript

GREGG POPOVICH: It's almost in a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this most recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer's face. For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, how just everyday, going about his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson. And it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind. I-- I don't know.

[SOLEMN PIANO MUSIC]

I think I'm just embarrassed, as a white person, to know that that can happen, to actually watch a lynching. You know, we've all seen books. And you look in the books. And you see black people hanging up on trees.

And you-- you are amazed. But we just saw it again. And I-- I never thought I'd see that, you know, with my own eyes, in real time.

Black people have been shouldering this burden for 400 years. The only reason this nation has made the progress it has is because of the persistence and patience and effort of Black people. You know, the-- the history of our nation, from the very beginning, in many ways, was a lie.

And we continue, to this day, mostly black and brown people, to try to make that lie a truth, so that it's no longer a lie. And those rights and privileges are enjoyed by people of color, just like we enjoy them.

What's it going to take? Two more black people with knees in their necks? I don't think so. I don't think that's going to happen. How many more Sandy Hooks do we have to have?

It's easy for people to let things go because it doesn't involve them. It's like the neighborhood where you know there's a dangerous corner. And you know that something's going to happen someday, and nobody does anything. And then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up.

Well, without getting too political, we got a lot of stop signs that need to go up. Quickly. Because our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race.