Gregg Popovich calls Texas a ‘sh** show’ at social justice event

Over the weekend, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made a surprise appearance at an inaugural summit in New York City focused on amplifying social justice issues and raising awareness for criminal justice reform. The United Justice Coalition brings together experts such as nationally recognized civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change CEO Dr. Bernice A. King, and journalist Soledad O’Brien to speak at the summit. But Popovich was a surprise pop-in on Saturday, July 23.

Popovich showed up to present an award to Barry Scheck, who co-founded Innocence Project. The New York-based non-profit is a program that works to exonerate individuals who have been wrongly convicted.

The Spurs coach’s appearance was delivered at the end of a six-hour program, during a conversation on policing in America. Pop was presented at the stage as the winningest coach in NBA history and a longtime supporter of humanitarian causes, and applause.

He called Sheck an “amazing man.” Never one to shy from speaking out on issues, Popovich also mentioned a call for gun reform amid his notes on criminal justice reform.

“I live in Texas, it’s a sh** show,” he said.

Honoree Barry Scheck accepts his award from Gregg Popovich on stage as United Justice Coalition hosts Inaugural Social Justice Summit with acclaimed activists, entertainers, attorneys, experts & more at Center415 on July 23, 2022 in New York City.

Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for United Justice

“I don’t have the answers but it pisses me off, it hurts me, it confounds me and I wonder where the hell do I live,” he continued. “I live in a country I did not know exists. I knew they were racists, I understand that, but I had no idea it was to this level and that the injustice and seeking of power was so powerful that we’re in the position that we’re in now.”

Popovich also said 375 people have been wrongly convicted and exonerated by Innocence Project efforts.

When Scheck took over the podium, he shared that Popovich accepted an invitation to the innocent network project conference despite having an important game the following day. At the conference, Scheck said that Pop met with people who have been exonerated and made the bridge for Innocence Project to team up with the National Basketball Coaches Association to help use celebrity to promote the causes

Gregg Popovich speaks as United Justice Coalition hosts Inaugural Social Justice Summit with acclaimed activists, entertainers, attorneys, experts & more at Center415 on July 23, 2022 in New York City.

Gregg Popovich speaks as United Justice Coalition hosts Inaugural Social Justice Summit with acclaimed activists, entertainers, attorneys, experts & more at Center415 on July 23, 2022 in New York City.

Shareif Ziyadat/Getty Images for United Justice

“It turns out that the NBA coaches have just been unbelievable and they’re all from Pop’s tree, whether it’s Steve Kerr or all the others,” Scheck said.

Of course, Popovich rejected the praise and reminded Scheck to focus on his own accolades during his acceptance speech.


“He does so many things that he doesn’t talk about that really advances the cause of justice,” Scheck continued. “He’s fearless.”

Full video of Popovich’s UJC presentation can be viewed below, beginning after the 5:30:00 mark.


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