Popovich’s divisive politics, drop in play have San Antonio Spurs fans turned off
The NBA’s darling franchise has become politically polarizing and it’s beginning to cost the San Antonio Spurs in ways that will really matter.
What happens when you combine some of the worst basketball played by an organization in 20 years and a polarizing figure as the head coach? If you’re the San Antonio Spurs it means disaster to your bottom line.
At least that is what the Washington Post is pointing out, as it took to understanding the interesting dynamic of arguably the most politically polarizing team and head coach in the NBA today.
Interestingly enough, it isn’t political activists like Khawi Leonard, Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker that have the fans up in arms. It is instead head coach Gregg Popovich, and comments made over the last year and a half or so have really begun to affect the Spurs in a significant way.
The comments most are pointing to? Pops beliefs regarding President Donald Trump and those who decided to vote for him in the 2016 election.
In case you need a reminder, he’s a good summary from the Washington Post:
Since the presidential campaign, Popovich has shared his disdain for Trump. He has called the United States “an embarrassment to the world” and the president a “soulless coward” and a “pathological liar.” The veteran coach is disgusted by comments he called “xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic” — “and I live in a country where half the people ignored all that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me,” he said after the election.
Pop didn’t just disagree with what Trump was about or is policies, he went out and attacked those who voted for him. If you don’t believe me, then take the words of long-time Spurs fans who took his words to heart.
There’s Cassandra Casanova, who has given up her season tickets and given away over 30 items related to the Spurs to Goodwill. Seriously, she did that.
“That’s how angry I got. It ruined my basketball life,” she told the Washington Post. “I took it personally. I was such a loyal fan, and he insulted me. Why would you start attacking the people who had been so loyal?”
Fellow long-time season ticket holder Dawn Hold echoed those statements, noting what Pop had insinuated with his comments about President Trump.
“I refuse to go to a game right now or even watch on TV,” she said. “I was really hurt by what he said. He’s basically accusing all the people who voted this one way of being racists and misogynists. It feels very personal.”
There’s also an entire family that bonded over the Spurs for the past 25 years, most of whom have turned off the games and turned away from a head coach who insulted them and has never apologized.
“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,” he said. “What happens when someone calls you a fool? You avoid them.”
According to the Washington Post article, these are but a few examples of fans who have been avoiding the Spurs this season and even prior to that. It’s also a situation that hasn’t been helped by the ongoing saga of Khawi Leonard, his choices in injury rehab and the team barely making the playoffs.
So far the Spurs brass hasn’t seen any indications of letting Pop go. They also avoided comment for the Washington Post article, but with a 2-0 deficit and a first round exit looming large, this offseason could be interesting.
For more on this topic check out Episode 2 of The Andrew Coppens Show, as we dive deep in to this topic and plenty more around the world of sports and politics.
LeBron James let off the hook by sports media once again
What do Kyler Murray, Josh Hader and Donte DiVincenzo have in common? They all put out Tweets with offensive material in them back in the day.
They also had them magically resurface at the height of their popularity and personal achievement.
But, if your name is LeBron James anything you can and will say on national TV or on social media is no big deal. You can compare NFL owners to slave owners on one day and then quote anti-Semitic rap lyrics the next and still nothing.
Such is the case when you have an adoring and fawning sports media and your beck-and-call.
James went to ESPN the minute his Instagram post that quoted rap lyrics that said “We be getting that Jewish money, Everything is Kosher” went viral.
He made a half-assed apology, noting that what he said is ok since he was “just quoting rap lyrics.” No seriously, after making his apology, James couched it by saying the following:
“That’s what I do. I ride in my car, I listen to great music, and that was the byproduct of it. So I actually thought it was a compliment, and obviously it wasn’t through the lens of a lot of people. My apologies. It definitely was not the intent, obviously, to hurt anybody,” James told ESPN Sunday.
If this was the first time James had said or done something offensive, it’s worth giving him a pass. But, James was part of another controversy just a few days ago after saying NFL owners are “old white men” and they “have that slave mentality” in a segment on The Shop which airs on HBO.
Most in the sports media world spent hours upon hours raking anyone else over the coals for such an anti-Semitic Tweet.
They probably would say things like, “ignorance is no defense” or “how can anyone not know that the stereotype of ‘Jewish money’ is offensive?” Which would also be followed up by statements of complete outrage and dismay that the person would say such a thing no matter their knowledge of the Jewish faith or its heritage.
But, this is the SJSW crowd and they don’t play by normal rules. LeBron subscribes to their world view and therefor he is worthy of grace, mercy and forgiveness no matter how insane an apology he gave.
Take for instance the very same Darren Rovell that I showed above. Now, following the “apology” he had this to say:
World view trumps truth, remember it’s a pillar of the SJSW.
This is also the same media that spent days, weeks and months running off all three of DiVincenzio, Hader and Murray following their misdeeds. You see, they offended the sensibilities of the SJSW and that can’t stand.
Outrage was the flavor of the day, the week and the month following all three of those players gaffs being made public years after they were Tweeted out.
I’m not one to suggest that what anyone says on social media should be taken all that seriously, but if the standard of the sports media world is that social media is to be taken seriously, then it’s their obligation to take it seriously across the board.
Where is the sports media shouting to the heavens? Why is there no mass media movement to stop talking to LeBron? Why do the SJSW’s still hold LeBron James up as if what he has to say on any particular topic is the stuff of genius?
He’s not infallible, just the like the rest of us. Yet, you wouldn’t know it by the fawning treatment he gets in from the sports media.
Once again, if it weren’t for hypocrisy in the sports media they may not have any standards at all.
WNBA choses politics over unifying fans with new ticket initiative
In case you were wondering where the WNBA stands on politics…its latest initiative should give you plenty of clues.
The WNBA has been around for 22 years, and for the majority of that 22-year existence it has been at the forefront of getting women’s basketball to become a marketable and relevant on the national sports scene.
Last season it appeared the WNBA was on to something, seeing its highest ever average attendance in league history.
But, now it appears the WNBA has decided to wade in to the politics + sports = good idea pool.
On Friday morning, the WBNA announced a new ticket initiative for the 2018 season, one in which fans will have the opportunity to donate $5 of their ticket price to one of six charities. Those charities are Bright Pink, MENTOR, GLSEN, The United State of Women, It’s on Us, and Planned Parenthood.
This season, your ticket supports more than women's basketball. It helps change the game for women and girls. https://t.co/PehIbA2cJb#WNBATakesAStand pic.twitter.com/xraFON4nRG
— WNBA (@WNBA) May 17, 2018
Amongst those charities? There are unifying ones like Bright Pink, which is the only national organization that focuses on early prevention and detection of breast cancer, and MENTOR, which focuses on mentorship programs for youth in the United States. There’s also the This is Us movement, which has been a social movement put together by former President Barak Obama in regards to sexual assault.
But, rather than continue to stick to organizations like those, the WNBA then had to go with Planned Parenthood and The United State of Women?
You know, because if there’s ever a lesson to be taken from the past three to five years of the sporting world, it’s that fans will flock to leagues and teams that are shoving politics (whatever brand of politics that is) down their throats.
While on its surface, The United State of Women summit and charity may seem like a worthy cause, a little digging and you’ll find that it is a completely left-wing summit full of speakers on the fringes of left-wing politics. Nothing screams like a unifying women’s message than having Jane Fonda, Brittany Packett, Symone Sanders, Sophia Bush and a whole host of other named speakers that include exactly zero women who are of a non-progressive viewpoint.
The WNBA will also spin having Planned Parenthood as an organization dedicated to women’s health, but the reality is that the organization couldn’t be more polarizing to the American public. Many believe the organization to be an affront to their morals and values, what with the organization providing abortions and all. Others see the organization providing services that are vital to women’s health beyond just abortions.
So, in the era of fans turning their backs on the NFL in droves over political activism, ESPN seeing its ratings dive and its subscribers tumble as it goes left-wing politics all the time and countless other examples of what not to do…the WNBA is doubling down on the idea that politics and sports is a great idea.
Instead of unifying around causes everyone can get behind and support, the league is offering political statements in the form of ticket sales for its potential patrons. Some are not happy about the addition of politics to their sports dollars.
Please don't. Let's not drag politics into sports as well. I live in Vegas. I'm excited about the Aces. I bought a shirt. I'll go to a few games with my daughters. I want to support my TEAM, not causes.
— Vegas Optimist (@Vegasoptimist) May 17, 2018
Given their meager attendance you’d think they’d have learned from the mistakes of other leagues. ????♂️
This won’t help the cause to increase player pay. The players need an increase in attendance to have a leg to stand on, over having a larger share of the revenue.
— The Tavarnak (@TheTavarnak) May 17, 2018
Way to go! Aborting future WNBA players while still in the womb is a winner on many levels! Kills the future for the sport and more dumbass Democrats in one wonderful swoop.
— The Senile Avenger (@HellMIT) May 18, 2018
This shouldn’t be totally surprising though, after all, the Seattle Storm partnered with Planned Parenthood last season to offer the $5 ticket donation to the abortion provider.
It’s a shame that politically polarizing organizations have to be a part of what could’ve been a really empowering and powerful idea for the league. We’ll see if this affects attendance one way or the other, but for a league that saw an average of 7,716 fans per game (a record for the league) last season, it’s a big gamble that may backfire.