San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich spoke out on the rioting in American cities Monday, saying the cycle of police brutality and subsequent civil unrest must stop.
"The thing that strikes me is that we all see this police violence and racism, and we've seen it all before, but nothing changes," Popovich told The Nation's Dave Zirin.
"That's why these protests have been so explosive. But without leadership and an understanding of what the problem is, there will never be change. And white Americans have avoided reckoning with this problem forever because it's been our privilege to be able to avoid it. That also has to change."
Popovich then pointed a finger at President Donald Trump, who has been heavily criticized for a lack of leadership during the crisis.
"It's unbelievable. If Trump had a brain, even if it was 99 percent cynical, he would come out and say something to unify people," the 71-year-old Popovich said. "But he doesn't care about bringing people together. Even now. That's how deranged he is. It's all about him. It's all about what benefits him personally. It's never about the greater good. ...
"It's so clear what needs to be done. We need a president to come out and say simply that 'black lives matter.' Just say those three words. But he won't and he can't. He can't because it's more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity."
Popovich joined other NBA coaches Monday in condemning the police killing of George Floyd, with the National Basketball Coaches Association reportedly pledging to form a committee on racial injustice.