Gregg Popovich is a big fan of Colin Kaepernick for taking a stand against oppression and continued to praise the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback this week after finishing up a practice with the USA Basketball team. Last week, Kaepernick announced on Twitter he’s still ready to make an NFL return and USA Basketball coach loved it.
"To negate that part of what we're able to do is ignorant on anybody's part who tries to make those people look unpatriotic," Popovich said via ESPN. "Like a Kaepernick. That was a very patriotic thing he did. He cared about his country enough to fix some things that were obvious, that everybody knows about but does nothing about."
Popovich went on to say that patriotism means a lot more than just waving a flag.
"Patriotism means a lot of things to different people," Popovich said. "There's people who are truly committed in that sense and people who are fake. The show of patriotism I think is a bit inappropriate and that is not something that I think we want to emulate. Because someone hugs a flag doesn't mean they're patriotic. Being a patriot is somebody that respects their country and understands that the best thing about our country is that we have the ability to fix things that have not come to fruition for a lot of people so far."
“All the promises in the beginning when the country was established is fantastic, but those goals have not been reached yet for a lot of people," Popovich added. "So you can still be patriotic and understand that there still needs to be criticism and changes and more attention paid to those who do not have what other people do have, and that's where we've fallen short in a lot of different ways. Being a critic of those inequalities does not make you a non-patriot. It's what makes America great, that you can say those things and attack those things to make them better.”
Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016 when he started kneeling during the national anthem. He filed a grievance against the NFL, accusing the owners of collusion against him. He withdrew the grievance earlier this year after getting a settlement.