“In a strange, counterintuitive sort of way, the best teaching moment of this recent tragedy, I think, was the look on the officer’s face,” Popovich, an outspoken critic of President Trump, said in an emotional video released by the Spurs. “For white people to see how nonchalant, how casual, just how everyday-going-about-his job, so much so that he could just put his left hand in his pocket, wriggle his knee around a little bit to teach this person some sort of a lesson — and that it was his right and his duty to do it, in his mind.
“I don’t know. … I think I’m just embarrassed as a white person to know that that can happen. To actually watch a lynching. We’ve all seen books, and you look in the books and you see black people hanging off of trees. And you … are amazed. But we just saw it again. I never thought I’d see that, with my own eyes, in real time.
“It’s like the neighborhood where you know there’s a dangerous corner, and you know that something’s going to happen someday, and nobody does anything. And then a young kid gets killed and a stop sign goes up. Well, without getting too political, we’ve got a lot of stop signs that need to go up — quickly — because our country is in trouble. And the basic reason is race.”
In Denver, more than 70 Broncos players, coaches and staff members wore T-shirts that bore the message “If you ain’t with us, you against us” as they marched with thousands of people. Joining players Von Miller, Jeremiah Attaochu and Justin Simmons and others was Coach Vic Fangio, who earlier apologized for saying there was “no discrimination” and “no racism” in the NFL in the immediate aftermath of Floyd’s death May 25.
“We’re out here as players … to be an agent of change with policy and really taking part in the way this country works,” Attaochu told the crowd. “And that’s the only way we’re going to fix things — is if we use our voices to speak out on policies and things that are not allowing our people to be successful, to have a chance in life. We can’t keep putting a Band-Aid on an old wound.”
In Milwaukee, a group of Bucks players turned out for the protest in T-shirts that bore some of Floyd’s last words, “I can’t breathe.” Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo, Brook Lopez, Frank Mason III, Giannis Antetokounmpo and his brother Thanasis joined the crowd.
“We want change, we want justice, and that’s why we’re out here,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said. “That’s what we’re going to do today. That’s why I’m going to march with you. I want my kid to grow up here in Milwaukee and not be scared to walk in the streets. I don’t want my kid to have hate in his heart.”
In Charlotte, Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper severed ties with CPI Security over what a community organization said were racist comments by its CEO, Kenneth Gill.
“Last Saturday, we said we are committed to doing our part and we mean it,” the team said in a statement Saturday. “CPI has been a long-term partner but, upon reflection, we feel that it is right to end our relationship.”
The issue with CPI arose when Jorge Millares, leader of the Queen City Unity organization, said he sent a mass email calling for action after Floyd’s death. He told the Charlotte Observer that the reaction was positive, except from Gill.
“Please spend your time in a more productive way,” Gill wrote in an email that Millares posted on Facebook. “A better use of time, would be to focus on the black on black crime and senseless killing of our young men by other young men.”
Gill apologized in a message posted on the company’s Twitter account Saturday.