Don’t ask, Don’t tell: How much do you really want to know about your Spurs?
SAN ANTONIO - Today I’m talking about “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
No. It’s not what you think. We’ve got our own sociological experiment in San Antonio and we don’t even know it.
Would you say you love the Spurs? Would you say you respect and admire the organization? Coach Pop? The players?
Most would say, “Yes.”
What about this? How much do we really want to know about them? And would their politics or religion or ideology make us change our opinions?
San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich has been under fire because he has blasted President Trump in the media more than once. Those who agree with him applaud his courage. Those who disagree say, “Stick to basketball!” or “Nobody cares what he thinks.”
I’ve heard the Spurs switchboard has been lit up with threats of season ticket cancellations.
But don’t expect Pop to quiet down. He’s always encouraged his players to be socially active. He’s even more so. He’s more attentive to minority issues and he has spoken to large groups of minority middle school students to encourage them.
“For young people to feel that they’re valued, that they’re special, that they’re important, that somebody older than them – somebody in other positions of power – whether it’s city council or mayor or basketball players that they look up to – cares about them. It empowers them psychologically, mentally. To maybe do their best in school. To maybe want to figure out what they want to do when they get older. That there are opportunities, instead of just sitting there and being depressed about some of the things they saw in the political process,” said Popovich.
The soundbite in itself seems to be one we could all agree on, but not in the current climate. Which is why the Spurs are the perfect team to lead the discussion. The owners, Peter and Julianna Holt, are Trump contributors. Conservative republicans. Pop is on the other side. Yet the Holts made Pop the highest paid NBA coach. They are perfect for each other, despite their differing views. It’s a relationship of respect, admiration and affection.
So should we all talk civilly and agree to disagree? Or would you rather ‘don’t ask, don’t tell?’ and not know what your team really believes when you say, “Go Spurs Go?”
Other Trump rants by Pop
Popovich was asked about his views on the women's marches in Washington and around…
"Their message is obvious," the five-time champion coach said of the protesters. "Our president comes in with the lowest (approval) rating of anybody whoever came into the office. And there's a majority of people out there, since Hillary (Clinton) won the popular vote, that don't buy his act. And I just wish that he was more — had the ability to be more — mature enough to do something that really is inclusive rather than just talking and saying, 'I'm going to include everybody.'
"He could talk to the groups that he disrespected and maligned during the primary and really make somebody believe it. But so far, we've got (to) a point where you really can't believe anything that comes out of his mouth. You really can't."
Popovich pointed out that Trump visited CIA headquarters on his first official day in office, but used the occasion to talk about himself.
"Instead of honoring the 117 people behind him where he was speaking, he talked about the size of the crowd," Popovich said. "That's worrisome. I'd just feel better if somebody was in that position that showed the maturity and psychological and emotional level of somebody that was his age. It's dangerous and it doesn't do us any good. I hope he does a great job, but there's a difference between respecting the office of the presidency and who occupies it.
"And that respect has to be earned."
Popovich was also critical of those who don't hold Trump accountable for his words.
"It's hard to be respectful of someone when we all have kids and we're watching him be misogynistic and xenophobic and racist and make fun of handicapped people. And what really bothers me are the people around him: the Sean Spicers, the Kellyanne Conways, the Reince Priebuses that know who he is and actually have the cynical approach and disingenuous attitude to really defend him and try to make it look like he didn't say what he said.
"And so when he's mad at the media for them reporting what he said, that just boggles my mind."
Popovich said others would have been punished for some of the things Trump has said in the past, including when he mocked a reporter with a disability.
"If our children would've said it, we would have grounded him for six months," he said. "Without a doubt. But we ignore all that because, because why? That says something about all of us and that's what's dangerous, or that's what scares the hell out of me to this day. It makes me uneasy."
Popovich concluded his rant about Trump by decrying his inability to handle media criticism.
"It does boggle the mind how somebody can be so thin skinned," he said. "It's all obvious, it's about him. If anything affects him, if it's 'Saturday Night Live' or 'Hamilton,' or she got 3 more million votes than you. 'They're illegal.' It doesn't matter what it is, there's a pattern there. And that's dangerous. I'd like to have someone with gravitas, but he got there through the electoral college, which is part of our system, and I hope he does some good things.
"There was a young lady on today who said, 'I just wished he had gone up there and said something like, and I know I said certain things, or you know I would really like to bring the people who don't feel, or I know some of you are scared.' But he can't do that because bullies don't do that. That's why."