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Gregg Popovich Defends San Antonio's Anthem Singer Against Racist Tweets

OAKLAND, CA - FEBRUARY 22: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs shouts to his team during their loss to the Golden State Warriors at Oracle Arena on February 22, 2013 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Grant HughesNational NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2016

Gregg Popovich is an equal opportunity chastiser; he'll yell at whoever deserves it, whether it's Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or the ignorant bunch of critics who embarrassed themselves by tweeting racist remarks about Sebastien de la Cruz, the 11-year-old kid who sang the national anthem in Games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals in San Antonio.

According to Royce Young of CBS, Popovich said:

Well, I would like to say that I would be shocked or surprised by the comments. But given the fact that there's still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I'm not surprised. It still plagues us, obviously. And what I was surprised by was how proud these idiots were of their ignorance, by printing their names next to their comments.

You tell 'em, Pop.

It doesn't feel right—and certainly not necessary—to hop onto the soapbox and denounce all of the buffoons who took to Twitter to voice their cowardly, racist opinions. The fact that they used an 11-year-old kid as a target is beyond pathetic. Anyone with half a brain knows that the people Popovich is talking about are obviously irredeemable dolts.

The league needs more intelligent people who are willing to be outspoken when necessary. Popovich is the NBA's longest tenured coach, so he's basically fearless at this point. In Game 4, he lit into Duncan as he so often has, clearly having no regard for the so-called superstar treatment many of the NBA's best players enjoy.

Pop's not a heartless guy, though. He cultivates a curmudgeonly demeanor with the media, but he's really not so cranky. He's merely intolerant of (and possibly allergic to) B.S.

That's why he hates the useless in-game interviews he has to take part in, and that's why he spoke out against the dopes who saw fit to say hurtful things about a child.

Much as he'd like to disabuse the public of the notion, there is a heart underneath Pop's rough exterior. Witness his handshake with de la Cruz before Game 4.

Without getting too heavy-handed, this is the price we're all paying with the ubiquity of social media: Idiots get a voice along with the rest of us.

It's a good thing there are guys like Popovich around to set them straight.

*Note: If you're looking for the racist tweets in question, you won't find them here. They're not fit to print.

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