Photo courtesy: Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for United Justice
(Fwrd Axis) — San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich slammed racial injustice in the United States over the weekend, calling out lawmakers over their inaction and rhetoric.
Speaking at Jay Z’s social justice summit on Saturday, which saw multiple leaders from various industries gather, the legendary coach spoke out against what he sees as multiple racial injustices in the U.S. The United Justice Coalition was assembled by Team Roc to raise awareness about racial justice and policy issues impacting people of color across America.
Popovich made the remarks while presenting an award to Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck, honoring Scheck’s efforts to organize a program that exonerates the wrongfully convicted.
“I live in Texas, it’s a s*** show,” he said. “This is the country we live in. I don’t have the answers, but it pisses me off. It hurts me. It confounds me. And I wonder where the hell will I live? I live in a country I did not know exists. I knew there were racists, I understand that. But I had no idea it was to this level, and that the injustice and the seeking of power was so rampant that we are in the position we’re in now.”
The event had multiple prominent appearances including rapper Yo Gotti, Radio Hall of Fame inductee Charlamagne Tha God, Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, and Dr. Bernice A. King.
Popovich added that through the innocence project and Scheck, 375 people have been exonerated.
Popovich’s words, while very blunt and passionate, are supported based on data on how racial bias contributes to wrongful convictions. According to the Innocence Project, two-thirds of their exonerees are people of color. In contrast, 58 percent of those exonerees are Black, and 48 percent of the jail population in the United States are Black, despite African Americans making up for 13 percent of the population. Additionally, facial recognition tools have falsely identified Black and Asian people 10 to 100 times more than any other race. These misidentifications can contribute to false convictions, and 40 percent of people on death row are African American.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a surprise appearance at a social justice summit in NYC to present an award to Innocence Project co-founder Barry Scheck, honoring a program that exonerates the wrongly convicted. Summit organized by Jay Z’s Roc Nation and United Justice Coalition. pic.twitter.com/tY4XGk3uC9
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This is not the first time Popovich has spoken out against Republican politicians over their policies. He has previously blasted former President Trump in the past over his stance on the border wall and more recently, the January 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol in Trump’s attempt to overturn the election results in his loss to President Joe Biden.