Gregg Popovich blasts NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for caving to Trump when Colin Kaepernick began his protest
Gregg Popovichcalled out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his initial response to player protests.
- Popovich said that Goodell "folded" to President Donald Trump, comparing the commissioner to Republican lawmakers who are worried "they'll get tweeted out of their office and not get elected the next go-round."
- Goodell offered an apology for the league's previous stance against the protests in recent weeks, but his real test will come in the fall.
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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich is not very impressed with the NFL's recent change of tune.
In an interview with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Popovich, who has been outspoken on his political beliefs and criticism of President Trump over the past few years, called out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for his initial response to Colin Kaepernick's protests against police brutality.
"A smart man is running the NFL and he didn't understand the difference between the flag and what makes the country great — all the people who fought to allow Kaepernick to have the right to kneel for justice," Popovich said. "The flag is irrelevant. It's just a symbol that people glom onto for political reasons, just like Cheney back in the Iraq war."
When Trump criticized the protests, saying teams should fire any player who kneels during the national anthem, the NFL attempted put a rule in place that would require players to either stand during the anthem or remain in the locker room as the pre-game festivities took place.
The move backfired spectacularly, with Trump calling it insufficient, and players arguing against the rule being established without their input. Ultimately, the rule was rescinded before a snap was played the following season.
In the past few weeks, the NFL has changed its tune on the issue, with Goodell apologizing for the league's previous stance against player protests. Popovich says that the Goodell's initial actions were more telling.
"He got intimidated when Trump jumped on the kneeling. He folded." Popovich told the Times. Popovich also compared Goodell to Republican lawmakers who bow to Trump out of fear "that they'll get tweeted out of their office and not get elected the next go-round."
Goodell and the NFL as a whole have come a long way in just the past few weeks in terms of supporting player protests, but the real test won't come until the season begins just as Trump is campaigning for the election in November.
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