Gregg Popovich is not just some guy whose invitation to Springfield, Mass., and the Basketball Hall of Fame, has already been engraved. He's also a man who sees beyond the proscribed dimensions of the basketball floor, who sees all the kneeling and bowing of heads going on during the National Anthem and understands why it's happening better than most.
He also understands why so many in America don't understand it, can't see beyond the mechanics of what has evolved, frankly, into a restrained and eloquent protest. And an unstoppable one. It's now spread beyond Colin Kaepernick and the NFL to high school kids and college kids -- a considerably more courageous act for them than for Kaepernick and his fellow NFL players, because high school and college kids have zero leverage over their situation.
In all cases, it's a clash that's not so much ideological as it is experiential, because those demanding the protestors be punished simply do not have the same life realities of those who are protesting.
As Popovich explained far more eloquently than I can on the San Antonio Spurs media day.
“At this point, when somebody like Kaepernick brings attention to this, and others who have, it makes people have to face the issue because it’s too easy to let it go because it’s not their daily experience," Popovich said in a wide-ranging interview with the San Antonio Express-News. "If it's not your daily experience, you don’t understand it. I didn’t talk to my kids about how to act in front of a policeman when you get stopped. I didn’t have to do that. All of my black friends have done that. There’s something that’s wrong about that, and we all know that. What’s the solution? Nobody has figured it out. But for sure, the conversation has to stay fresh, it has to stay continuous, it has to be persistent, and we all have a responsibility to make sure that happens in our communities.”