SAN ANTONIO — Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke at length about voting rights and called out senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema on Sunday night.
"They know what's going on, they understand, but there are more important things to them, and it's damn selfish and dangerous to our country," Popovich said before the Spurs took on the Sixers.
The two moderate Democrats sided against their party, refusing to change filibuster rules and dooming the passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. This comes as states around the country pass laws that restrict voting, a trend that civil rights groups say disproportionately impacts communities of color.
"Thank God for Black people fighting, because I live in this country, and it's one of the big reasons we still have a country that's democratic because of the fights that they put up," Popovich said.
Below are his comments in full:
"A lot of people didn't want Martin Luther King Day either, that was that was a big struggle. It's just been a part of our country, always has been as far as Juneteenth. I might be too cynical, or maybe I'm just realistic, but it sort of felt like a lot of politicians acquiesced to Juneteenth and basically, either blatantly, or between the lines said, 'Now shut up. You've got that be happy. What else do you want? Justice, equality, or recognition that we have a system that keeps black and brown people in the background and underneath, and less than?'
It was that kind of an attitude that really is depressing and angering both at the same time. You still see it today with the voting rights issues that are going on. You know, we have two senators that seem to not be able to understand the gravity of the situation. And it's for political reasons, and they must think that we're stupid, or they just don't care, or both, but we're in such a dangerous situation right now.
It's hard to know how to go forward, and the thing for me being a white person looking at our country, it seems that it's ironic, but as much as a community of color has been oppressed, and denigrated, and so on, and so forth, those are the people who tried to save this damn country, from itself. It's just ironic to me.
Every time we take steps forward, you get the backlash. The fact that the voting rights issue is in the situation it's in, it's just mind boggling to me, in one sense, we've already gone through this back in the 60s, and we know what the Supreme Court did earlier and gutting it and all that sort of thing. But it's like, we don't get it.
It's like, maybe there wouldn't be a democracy if it wasn't for Black people. If you think about it, maybe this all would have happened 50, 60, 80 years ago, if black people didn't continue to fight for what they deserve and what was promised. But it seems like the Senate, mostly older white people, it all comes down to fear mongering and race and power, and they don't want to face it.
But thank God for Black people fighting, because I live in this country, and it's one of the big reasons we still have a country that's democratic because of the fights that they put up. It's just so damn ironic to me, and maddening. So that's where we're at. As many have said, it's been time, it's past time for hardball. You know, the Republican Senate will not participate, they just will not. So whatever can be done needs to be done, and Sinema and Manchin, they get it, but they don't get it. They know what's going on, they understand, but there are more important things to them, and it's damn selfish and dangerous to our country."