The National Basketball Association in the U.S. has become the latest public forum to express shock and dismay at the fact that Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential elections, as at least three high-profile coaches – all of whom are white – weighed in on the conversation.
“I’m just sick to my stomach,” San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich told reporters Friday.
“Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all of the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in that country where half of the people ignored all of that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me.”
He went on to slam Trump over his “disgusting” campaign techniques, recalling his “race-baiting” attacks on President Barack Obama and his questioning of the outgoing president's birthplace.
Acknowledging his white privilege and wealth, Popovich – who has led the Spurs to five championship wins – warned that people of color and women are now under threat by the rise of Trump and his supporters. “My final conclusion is, my big fear is: We are Rome.”
Detroit Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy echoed the same sentiment about the state of affairs in the country, calling the president-elect “openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic and ethnic-centric,” the Detroit Free Press reported Wednesday.
Van Gundy, another middle-aged, wealthy white man, acknowledged that electing Trump was a message from white people in the U.S. to people of color that “I don’t think you deserve equality. We don’t think you deserve respect. And the same with women. That’s what we say today, as a country.”
Meanwhile, Golden State Warriors’ Steve Kerr slammed the media culture in the country for the election of the former reality TV host.
“People are getting paid millions of dollars to go on TV and scream at each other, whether it’s in sports or politics or entertainment, and I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics.”
High-profile NBA and WNBA players and coaches have been vocal about political issues in the country in recent years. Both the men's and women's leagues are largely made up of African-American players who have regularly denounced police brutality.
Last season some players — both men and women — wore hooded sweatshirts and “I Can’t Breathe” and "Black Lives Matter" T-shirts, while others participated in a TV ad aimed at fighting gun violence. Thus it is unlikely that basketball stars will keep silent during a Trump presidency.
Jalen Rose, a retired NBA player and sports analyst for ESPN, argued in an interview after the election that many players will boycott Trump’s White House and forgo public and official visits that had become a frequent occurrence under Obama's tenure.