Gregg Popovich offers powerful statement on racial injustice when asked about Marco Belinelli

San Antonio guard Marco Belinelli didn’t play in the Spurs’ 108-106 win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon while dealing with a left foot sprain — an injury update coach Gregg Popovich announced before tip-off.

Popovich, however, took a long time to make that announcement. 

Popovich’s powerful statement on racial injustice

Instead of getting straight to the point when asked about Belinelli on Sunday morning, Popovich opted to deliver a powerful statement on racial injustice in the United States — something that has been at the forefront of the NBA restart at Walt Disney World. 

“Our number one priority as far as the country and society is concerned is racial justice, actually racial injustice, that exists in our country and trying to make everything just for all people,” Popovich said, via ESPN’s Royce Young. “Just as a reminder, in this world a lot of people really do not understand the breadth and depth of this horrific situation that Black people have been in for so long.”

Popovich then gave an example, citing a North Carolina constitutional amendment that was approved 120 years ago that required Black people to pass a literacy test in order to vote but did not require white people do the same. 

“There was a former Confederate officer, William Guthrie, who on the eve of the election made a statement and basically said, ‘This was very necessary to protect the white women, that they can’t go out in the streets and don’t feel safe when they’re alone. We have to keep the quote-unquote colored people away from them,’” Popovich said.

“So he emphasized this on the eve of the election, to make sure that their way would be the rule that people had to live under. This sort of activity went on over and over and over again, for all this time.

“And again, it’s about education and culture, and none of us knew these kinds of things, none of us were taught these things. Black, Brown, Asian, Native American — it doesn’t matter. None of us were taught these things. Hopefully if people understand how gross this situation really is and how long it’s been this gross, maybe we can make some headway.”

That’s when Popovich circled back to the original question asked of him. 

“Marco Belinelli is out tonight,” he said. 

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