Gregg Popovich criticizes Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction after Uvalde massacre

Gregg Popovich criticizes Gov. Greg Abbott for inaction after Uvalde massacre

Posted For: MugsMalone  

Tom Orsborn

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs coach Gregg Popovich left Uvalde on Saturday proud of the way his players, especially the younger ones, did their best to comfort a grieving community.

“We have four 19-year-olds, but these guys displayed the same maturity as Timmy (Duncan) and Manu (Ginobili) or Mario Elie or David Robinson, with the responsibility they knew they had to the community,” Popovich said. “We didn’t twist arms or anything like that. They were anxious to go. They wanted to stay longer. They get it.”

But Popovich also experienced other emotions on the way back to San Antonio after the Spurs held a series of events to help comfort a community that lost 19 children and two teachers to a gunman’s rampage in May at Robb Elementary School.

“(Mass shootings) have happened so often that it seems no amount of uproar from so many quarters makes much of a difference as far as trying to prevent the next one – (and) there will be a next one,” Popovich said. “And, in this particular case, you feel for the people who are hurting obviously from the pain of loss but who are also enraged and frustrated with the lack of action from our politicians.”

Speaking to the media before Sunday’s preseason game with New Orleans, Popovich criticized Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for failing to push for gun reform after the second deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.

“Our governor, our lieutenant governor…they have done nothing since that massacre to make it more difficult for the next massacre to take place,” Popovich said, referring to gun reform.

Parents and relatives of the Uvalde shooting victims have criticized Abbott over his inaction to address their calls for limiting access to firearms. They wanted the governor to call for a special legislative session to increase the minimum age to purchase a semi-automatic rifle in the state from 18 to 21 years old.

The 18-year-old gunman in Uvalde bought two AR-15-style rifles immediately after he turned the legal purchasing age in May.

“I just wonder what is in their hearts, what is in their bones,” Popovich said of Abbott and other politicians who failed to take action on gun reform after Uvalde.

“It can’t just be beholding to the NRA (National Rifle Association) and the image, the pay for the job, the position, the power. It just can’t be that. If that’s it, we don’t really have a country. The fiber will disintegrate over time, and we will die from within, just like every other great nation has done.”

A spokesperson for Abbott did not immediately return a request for comment.

Popovich also criticized Abbott for saying “it could have been worse” while initially praising the law enforcement response to the Uvalde school shooting. Abbott later said he was “livid” about receiving inaccurate information about the poor response by law enforcement.

“The information I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I am absolutely livid about that,” Abbott said at a news conference in Uvalde.

“What the hell is he thinking?” when he said it could have been worse, Popovich said. “That two more could have died? It’s beyond comprehension.”

Regarding Abbott saying he was “livid” about being misled, Popovich said, “He was more livid about that because he was personally embarrassed because he got told some bad info. That’s just incredulous to me. He expressed more emotion and frustration in that than he did the massacre of children and teachers. Disgusting.”

The Spurs hosted 1,000 residents of Uvalde during Sunday’s game.

“It’s just another way to feel like you understand there is something more important than basketball,” Popovich said. “And those families traveling up here the way we went down there is just another element to that process, to that calculus, that people care, people are with you, people support you, people are trying to understand your anger and your frustration, even though we don’t feel it as intensely as they do.

“So having them up here, is really courageous on their part, to make that effort to heal.”

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