- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 17, 2018

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says alienated fans who speak to national newspapers about his anti-Trump rhetoric are of no concern to him.

One of the most famous coaches in NBA history says the top brass in his organization has been mute regarding his attacks on President Trump — and that disgruntled fans whose criticism is published out of state have no bearing on his behavior.

“Have you ever felt any pressure within the organization to tone done your commentary?” reporter Anthony Slater of The Athletic asked the coach Monday night regarding a piece by The Washington Post.

“No, I don’t care about that article that anybody might write,” Popovich replied. “The organization has never said a word about any opinion that I might have about anything. Not one time.”

Popovich has never hesitated to call Mr. Trump — and by extension his supporters — “xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic” and “an embarrassment to the world.”

The Post spoke with ESPN San Antonio radio host Jason Minnix and a handful of longtime fans about the issue Monday. The general consensus was that paying customers want their coach to focus on basketball instead of divisive politics.

“I am completely turned off,” Cassandra Casanova, 65, told the newspaper. “After all those years supporting the team, and now I just have no interest. Popovich really messed up. … I was such a loyal fan, and he insulted me. Why would you start attacking the people who had been so loyal?”

Fellow fan Bob Mulherin concurred.

“I often curse Pop for doing what he did,” Mulherin said. “He insulted more than half of the Spurs‘ fan base, and no sign whatsoever of an apology. It is sad that Pop basically told my wife and my son and me for that matter that we were fools for supporting Donald Trump. What happens when someone calls you a fool? You avoid them.”

Mr. Minnix, who hosts “The Blitz” radio show, said “it’s hard for many to just quit” after they’ve sometimes been supporting a team for decades.

The Spurs declined to comment for the newspaper’s story.

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