When Donald Trump decided to waddle his fat lazy ass into the world of professional sports to provide himself with the ultimate political wedge issue, I doubt that he could see this coming. When he decided to attack the protesting NFL players with vitriol and invective he got some of the standard hand wringing and hemming and hawing from public figures who are always worried about the financial back-lash of taking a side on such a politically charged issue. For those of you who have already forgotten, Trump jumped belly-flop style into the pool of controversy over the NFL player’s silent kneeling protests during the national anthem.
He called the players “sons of bitch(es)” and said that the owners should just fire them all- as if there are no such things as contracts, labor union agreements or constitutionally protected rights to take into consideration. Like everything else with Trump, it was racially inflammatory and extremely divisive. But that is exactly what he was shooting for. Keep in mind, he jumped into this controversy at the same time that his efforts to bulldoze Republican Senators into passing that final (and disastrous) “repeal and replace” bill had failed. He could turn it around on the GOP establishment for sure (and he did) but the reality is he needed a serious conversation shifter. And nothing quite excites the Trump base and inflames media outlets like racial strife, sports and patriotism all blended together.
But just as that controversy was dying down- despite Trump’s repeated efforts to keep it raging from his hyper-active Twitter finger- the story broke about 4 Navy Seals being killed in Niger- where most Americans didn’t even know we had any service-members fighting. So when Trump f*cked up his official response to that legitimate national story, demonstrating striking dishonesty and a disgusting reflex to dodge accountability he got some incoming fire from the world of sports that he obviously had no stomach for.
Greg Popovich is the wildly successful, universally respected, media revered and unimpeachable head coach of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs. “Pop”, as he is affectionately referred to by the basketball world, has a distinguished military service record, an elite education, and a bona-fide self-made pedigree and the wealth to command indpependence of his own definition. He is also a man of large physical stature and in case the name Popovich didn’t tip you off, he is as white as they come. Nobody can take anything away from Greg Popovich.
And when he gave Trump the open-handed slap in the mouth that he so richly deserves, Trump didn’t say a f*cking word- suddenly playing deaf. Here is what Pop said:
“This man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others. This has of course been a common practice of his, but to do it in this manner—and to lie about how previous presidents responded to the deaths of soldiers—is as low as it gets. We have a pathological liar in the White House, unfit intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically to hold this office, and the whole world knows it, especially those around him every day. The people who work with this president should be ashamed, because they know better than anyone just how unfit he is, and yet they choose to do nothing about it. This is their shame most of all.”
There is no mistaking that. He just gave Trump and all the Trumpsters the bone-crushing body slam that would make Nature Boy Ric Flair green with envy. This was the most awesome and complete take-down of Trump and his acolytes that I can find anywhere in recorded media- that is by a man of Pop’s stature. What we have learned is that Donald Trump does not want anything to do with a fight that doesn’t involve an opponent who he has no leverage or weight class advantage over. He is like the school-yard bully who pisses his pants when confronted by an adversary of equal weight who is unimpressed by his record of scaring smaller kids into giving up their lunch money without a fight. Trump’s silence in the face of Pop’s assault on him AND all of his people is astonishing considering he spends all of his time scouring the media for people to get in sissy slap fights with on Twitter.
Punk-ass Republican politicians have proven to be no match. He’s gone after Hollywood actresses who said things he didn’t like that didn’t even include his name. He’s gone at former presidents who are constrained by their attempts to maintain the dignity of the office they held. He’s gone a retail stores for pulling his daughter’s clothes off their shelves. But a public condemnation as an intellectually inept “soulless coward” gets NOTHING. Really?
So now we know how to get Donald Trump to shut the f*ck up. Every single time he attacks anybody or says any of the bullsh*t he likes to say to get through a press conference or an interview, just say “What do you have to say to Greg Popovich?” and then quote the entire passage. Watch him tuck his tail and scurry from the issue or maybe even the entire interview. Many in the media have been looking for a way to combat these people and this is it. Trump has been caught ducking a fight that he can’t spin his way out of. He can’t race-bait his way out of this. He can’t distract his way out of this. He can’t even lie his way out of this one. Pop is on record saying that Trump is less of a man than he is and by all indications he is fully prepared by life to say it to his face.
Of course the other side of the genius of what Pop did was to put NBA owners and fans on notice before the season even starts: That bullsh*t Trump pulled on the NFL is NOT going to fly in the NBA. If owners want to donate to Trump or support him, fine. But Pop made it clear: if you start getting played like puppets and attacking players to satisfy Trump and his Trumpsters you are going to get your cabbage blown back. It is one thing for LeBron and Steph Curry to tell Trump to f*ck off but it is quite another for the most revered and respected coach in the game to say it. And the longer Trump stays silent, the more powerful this issue will be when the media catches on to it. Here’s hoping they have the moxy to do so.