Editorial: Spurs fans should judge Pop on hardwood only

Gregg PopovichOn Monday, when I wrote a small post about NBA players, front office staff and owners supporting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, I never quite expected what was coming next.

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich pledging toward President Barack Obama's campaign for re-election was a choice several others made, including former Spur Doc Rivers.

While I will not state my political stance and views, I'll suffice it to say I got a quick reminder in the form of comments, emails and tweets reminding me that Texas is indeed a blue state.

So sure, some people don't like his choice, but should his choice of who he supports make any difference about the main he is or about his qualifications as a head coach?

Apparently to some, that is the case. Here's a sampling of the responses I got, with the names of senders not included.

"The sa spurs had my support until popovich decided to support obamaNotice my lack respect by not capitolizing the names (sic)."

But that wasn't the only person who has lost respect of Popovich. The trend continued.

 

"What a stupid decision. Does  he not understand what Obama has done and more importantly what he hasn’t done. I would have thought better of Pop but now I have lost respect in Pop because he doesn’t recognize a bad “coach” when he sees one."

The outrage continued in the comments section of the post, which became an all-out political debate at times, with 15 commenters chiming in.

"If so, coach Pop and the Spurs mgnt have different colors. Hope its not affecting their chemistry."

There are many other issues that affect NBA teams, and being in several teams' locker rooms, including the Spurs, I have yet to see a problem with chemistry due to politics. One of the Spurs' strongest attributes is their chemistry. That's not changing, and if anyone in the franchise disagrees with those choices, Pop has earned his respect for what he has done on the sidelines. That's not to say I agree or disagree with him, but on the hardwood, nothing else matters.

Among other things, the word un-American came out, but there were a few people that realized that politics should have no bearing on Popovich as a coach.

"Grow up people! If that's what Pop (or any coach or owner) believes in, so be it! His opinion is no less important than yours!"

With that reaction in mind, I took to Twitter on Tuesday to get the views of fellow bloggers and Spurs fans.

Most of the reactions there were about Popovich exercising his democratic rights, which should not be a big deal. Silvan John of Mundo Albiceleste probably said it best.

"Bet they might even have a problem with what the Spurs have for breakfast I guess."

My point here is not to join either side of the debate, but to observe and point out how politics and a choice all Americans have can change perspectives very quickly. When I go into the ballot box, I hope that wouldn't change your opinion of what I do on Project Spurs and I doubt my opinion would change of anyone voting opposite of me.

But for someone with a high-profile job in the spotlight, a thing like respect seems to fly out the window in the blink of an eye when it took a career to build.

About Michael A. De Leon

Michael founded Project Spurs in 2004. He started The Spurscast, the first Spurs podcast on the Internet, in 2005. Michael has been interviewed by the BBC, SportTalk, the Sports Reporters Radio Show, MemphisSportLive, OKC Sports Wrap and ESPN radio among others. He is a credentialed member of the media for the San Antonio Spurs and Austin Toros. He is also the founder of Project Spurs' sister sites, Toros Nation and Stars Hoops.

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