San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says that he believes Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests were, “a very patriotic thing.”
The NBA coach claimed that Kaepernick brought light to social justice and racial inequality when he took a knee for the national anthem during the 2016 NFL season.
Popovich made his pronouncement after Team USA practice at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility on Tuesday, according to ESPN.
“Patriotism means a lot of things to different people,” Popovich told the media. “There’s people who are truly committed in that sense and people who are fake. The show of patriotism I think is a bit inappropriate and that is not something that I think we want to emulate. Because someone hugs a flag doesn’t mean they’re patriotic. Being a patriot is somebody that respects their country and understands that the best thing about our country is that we have the ability to fix things that have not come to fruition for a lot of people so far.”
The Spurs coach praised the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who last played in 2016.
“Like a Kaepernick. That was a very patriotic thing he did. He cared about his country enough to fix some things that were obvious, that everybody knows about but does nothing about,” he said.
“All the promises in the beginning when the country was established is fantastic, but those goals have not been reached yet for a lot of people,” Popovich absurdly added. “So you can still be patriotic and understand that there still needs to be criticism and changes and more attention paid to those who do not have what other people do have, and that’s where we’ve fallen short in a lot of different ways. Being a critic of those inequalities does not make you a non-patriot. It’s what makes America great, that you can say those things and attack those things to make them better. That’s what a lot of other countries don’t have. You lose your freedom when you do that.”
Still, all the claims that Kaepernick was only trying to raise awareness of racial inequality does not comport with Kaepernick’s own proclamations when he first started his protests in 2016.
Kaepernick himself aimed his protests toward statements against police in particular and the entire country in general. For instance, he wore socks portraying the police as pigs. This is an act that turned a discussion about police occasional brutality into a blanket statement of hate for all cops regardless of their actions. He also said that the U.S. was never great, meaning that he stands against the whole country in general, not just against “racism.”
Additionally, Kaepernick has been seen wearing a Fidel Castro shirt, thereby celebrating a man who has murdered hundreds of thousands of political opponents over the last 50 years. He is also a supporter of Black Lives Matter, a group many Americans feel is a domestic terror outfit that has been responsible for multiple riots, millions in property destruction, and even a few deaths across the U.S.
Kaepernick’s protests were far from a mere mild-mannered statement about racial justice.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.