Gregg Popovich: 'Still sick to my stomach' after Trump's election win

SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich spoke Friday about his frustration with Tuesday's election of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States.

"I'm still sick to my stomach, and not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor, tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic," he said before the Spurs' home game against the Detroit Pistons. "And I live in that country where half the people ignored all that to elect someone. That's the scariest part of [the] whole thing to me.

"It's got nothing to do with the environment, Obamacare and all the other stuff. We live in a country that ignored all those values that we would hold our kids accountable for."

Popovich spoke with reporters for nearly six minutes about the election. He said he understands why some, including political leaders, are calling for Americans to support the president-elect. But Popovich said Trump's words cannot be simply overlooked and forgotten.

"Everybody wants him to be successful. It's our country; we don't want it to go down the drain," Popovich said. "Any reasonable person would come to that conclusion, but it does not take away the fact that he used that fear-mongering and all the comments from day one. The race-baiting with trying to make Barack Obama, our first black president, illegitimate. It leaves me to wonder where I've been living and with whom I'm living."

Popovich also expressed empathy for minority groups that might be adversely affected by Trump's remarks during his campaign.

"What gets lost in the process are African-Americans, Hispanics, women and the gay population, not to mention the eighth-grade developmental stage exhibited by him when he made fun of the handicapped person," he said. "I mean, come on. That's what an eighth-grade bully does, and he was elected president of the United States. We would have scolded our kids. We would have had discussions and talked until we were blue in the face trying to get them to understand these things. And he is in charge of our country. That's disgusting."

Popovich emphasized that his problem with Trump isn't merely a matter of political affiliation.

"Values to me are more important than anybody's skill in business or anything else because it tells who we are, how we want to live and what kind of people we are," he said. "That's why I have great respect for people like Lindsey Graham, John McCain, John Kasich, who I disagree with on a lot of political things. But they had enough fiber and respect for humanity and tolerance for all groups to say what they said about [Trump]."

When a reporter interrupted to start a new line of questioning, Popovich cut him off.

"I'm not done," he said. "One could go on and on. We didn't make this stuff up. He's angry at the media because they reported what he said and how he acted. It's ironic to me. It just makes no sense. So that's my real fear. And that's what gives me so much pause and makes me feel so badly, that the country is willing to be that intolerant and not understand the empathy that's necessary to understand other groups' situations.

"I'm a rich, white guy. And I'm sick to my stomach thinking about it. I couldn't imagine being a Muslim right now or a woman or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, and how disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it's just beyond my comprehension how they ignored all that."

As his remarks ended, Popovich said he was concerned that the U.S. is on the same path as the Roman Empire.

"My final conclusion is, my big fear is, we are Rome," he said.

Popovich is just one of many coaches and athletes who have shared their opinions on the election following Trump's victory Tuesday.

As anti-Trump protests spread nationwide after the election, Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Wednesday night that "there was nothing wrong" with people protesting Trump's election victory but that they should be open to giving him the opportunity to prove himself.

"The election didn't go the way I wanted it to go," Rivers said. "I personally know Donald Trump. I've golfed with him, and I know him. I don't think there's anyone who runs for president that wants to do bad. I really don't. So, you know, he won. My take on it: Let's give him a chance and see what he can do. That's the only way anyway now. So, let's go with that."

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said he noticed his players were uncharacteristically quiet because they were thinking about the election, and Van Gundy told the Detroit Free Press that Trump was "openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic."

"I have problems with thinking that this is where we are as a country. It's tough on [the team]," he said. "What we have done to minorities ... in this election is despicable. I'm having a hard time dealing with it."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.