Gregg Popovich Rips Roger Goodell, 'Hypocritical' NFL Owners over Social Justice

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJune 13, 2020

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich watches from the sideline during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Dec. 16, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich went after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and multiple team owners, including Jerry Jones and Robert Kraft, for their "hypocritical" stance on social justice.

In an interview with Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, Popovich expressed skepticism about Goodell's sincerity for saying in a video statement last week that the NFL "was wrong" for not listening to players' concerns sooner:

"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. The flag is irrelevant. It's just a symbol that people glom onto for political reasons, just like Cheney back in the Iraq war."

Popovich also said Goodell "got intimidated when (Donald) Trump jumped on the kneeling" and "folded."

When Dowd brought up that seven NFL owners donated $1 million each to Trump's inaugural committee in 2017, Popovich sounded off on the league's hypocrisy.

"It's just hypocritical. It's incongruent," he said. "It doesn't make sense. People aren't blind. Do you go to your staff and your players and talk about injustices and democracy and how to protest? I don't get it. I think they put themselves in a position that's untenable."

The NFL has pledged to donate $250 million over 10 years to support efforts to combat systemic racism and "support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans."

Despite statements from the league and Goodell, team owners have been quiet amid the ongoing protests across the country in the wake of George Floyd's killing while in Minneapolis police custody.

Many NFL players have taken part in protests across the country and have spoken out about racial injustice.

Patrick Mahomes, Michael Thomas, Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham Jr. were among the players who participated in a video asking the league to condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people.