San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a five-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer, has never shied away from expressing his views on social and political issues. In what might have been his final pre-game press conference of the year, Popovich chose to address the pressing issue of gun violence in America, especially in the wake of last month’s devastating school shooting in Tennessee.
Popovich expressed his disbelief at the response of politicians such as Senator Marsha Blackburn, who said her office stood ready to assist after the massacre. “In what?! They’re dead. What are you going to assist with? Cleaning up their brains off the wall, wiping the blood off the schoolroom floor?” questioned the Spurs coach.
Popovich also criticized Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s call for prayers, asking, “What are you monitoring? They’re dead. Children—they’re dead.” The coach shared his personal anxiety over picking up his young grandchildren from school, fearing for their safety. He contrasted this with the more innocuous worries he and others experienced during their own school days.
In his criticism of politicians, Popovich specifically mentioned Republicans cloaking their inaction in the myth of the Second Amendment and the concept of “freedom.” He pointed out the irony in considering it “freedom” when children are scared for their lives while trying to socialize and learn at school. Popovich also dismissed the idea proposed by Senator Ted Cruz to double the number of police officers in schools, questioning whether that would truly create a safe environment for students.
The Spurs coach emphasized the greed of gun lobbies and manufacturers, acknowledging the power of money in influencing policy. He also called out the cowardice and selfishness of legislators who are afraid of losing their positions and power, prioritizing those concerns over the safety of children.
Gregg Popovich has a long history of advocating for common-sense gun control legislation, including after the Uvalde school shooting in Texas in 2022, which left 21 people dead. With 144 mass shootings in 2023 alone, according to the Gun Violence Archive, the Spurs coach is determined to keep the conversation on this crucial issue alive, using his platform to demand action from those in power.