Team USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich isn’t always the most talkative when he’s in the presence of the media, but he had plenty to say following the team’s practice in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Popovich, who has shown support for Colin Kaepernick over the years, reiterated his stance when asked about the divisiveness in our country, and about showing patriotism.
“Patriotism means a lot of things to different people,” Popovich said, according to ESPN. “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.”
In speaking about patriotism, Popovich explained that calling for change in our country and criticizing the way things are run doesn’t make someone a “non-patriot.” He then specifically pointed to what Colin Kaepernick has done as being “very patriotic.”
“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 continued. “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.”
“To negate that part of what we’re able to do is ignorant on anybody’s part who tries to make those people look unpatriotic,” Popovich said. “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.”