ORLANDO, Fla. — Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has spoken out about racial injustice especially often in the NBA bubble in Orlando, and on Sunday he reflected on the six-year anniversary of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
"It's just another example of of an overall culture, not every policeman, so don't take it out of context, but an overall culture that sort of presumes guilt, or feels danger because it's a young black man," Popovich said before the game against New Orleans.
"This particular officer even said that that he was in fear of his life. Now, I can't imagine being in fear of my life if somebody is running away from me with their hands up."
Below are Popovich's comments in full:
Just a reminder to you guys why we're here. It is the opening of the NBA. We're going to have a playoff and there's going to be a champion and that sort of thing, but the thing that's even bigger for our country at this moment is this emphasis that so many more people seem to have.
That's, you know, the racial injustice that we see, and it's become more obvious because of the killings of so many young black men.
We always hear about 'thoughts and prayers' when our children are gunned down at schools or our Marines, or Navy, or Airmen, Army, SEALs, no matter what it might be militarily, when they are killed, 'Thoughts and prayers, thoughts and prayers.'
And it's the same way when young black men and young brown men are killed.
Today is the six year anniversary for Michael Brown. I don't know if any of you thought of that today, but six years ago today, he was gunned down and killed.
This was a young man who had just graduated from high school about a week earlier, I think. There was some sort of an altercation that everybody has not agreed upon yet. But the fact that is agreed upon is this is a young man with his hands in the air, running away from the officer, running away, and receives six shots in the back that killed him.
And it's just another example of of an overall culture, not every policeman, so don't take it out of context, but an overall culture that sort of presumes guilt, or feels danger because it's a young black man.
And this particular officer even said that that he was in fear of his life. Now, I can't imagine being in fear of my life if somebody is running away from me with their hands up.
That's not too scary. And, of course, he was he was never charged.
To this day, you can count the many more that have happened. And so that's one of the reasons why the coaches, the owners, the players especially, the staff, everybody here wants to make sure that we sound this out constantly to make sure the momentum does not go away.
So just take a minute and think about being in that situation or being in that family and having that loss, for that reason.
You guys have a good day.