The accomplished NBA coach has forcefully spoken out on systemic racism both through words and action. But despite the majority of NBA players and coaches kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich stood before the Kings-Spurs games on Saturday. Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon also stood.
"I prefer to keep that to myself," said Popovich, who is the head coach of USA Basketball and graduated from United States Air Force Academy in 1970 . "Everybody has to make a personal decision. The league has been great about that. Everybody has the freedom to react any way that they want. For whatever reasons that I have, I reacted the way I wanted to."
Beforehand, Popovich had said that each player and coach should decide what they should do during the anthem. In an NBA recorded PSA, however, Popovich stressed the importance for the country at large to continue its protests and efforts to fight racial inequality. Popovich has often defended former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Popovich has already criticized President Donald Trump for his racially divisive rhetoric.