When asked about athlete-led protests against police brutality and other societal issues plaguing the U.S., Gregg Popovich gave nuanced and thoughtful responses Monday.

The San Antonio Spurs head coach says it takes guts to take a stance on such hot-button topics.

Popovich says it’s important to confront such difficult questions in today’s world.

Per the Express-News:

What are your thoughts on what’s going on in the country?

 

“I think it’s really dangerous to answer such important questions that have confounded so many people for hundreds of years, to ask me to give you my solutions, as if I had any, in 30 seconds. So if you want to be specific about a question, I’ll be more than happy to answer it because I think race is the elephant in the room in our country. The social situation that we’ve all experienced is absolutely disgusting in a lot of ways. What’s really interesting is the people that jump right away to say, one is attacking the police, or the people that jump on the other side. It’s a question where understanding and empathy has to trump, no pun intended, has to trump any quick reactions of an ideological or demagogical nature. It’s a topic that can’t just be swung at, people have to be very accurate and direct in what they say and do.”

 

If your players protest, do you plan on talking to them about it?

 

“My players are engaged citizens who are fully capable of understanding what their values are, and what they think is appropriate and inappropriate, and what they feel strongly about. Whatever actions may or may not be taken are their decisions, and I’m not going to tell anyone ahead of time that if they don’t do A, B and C, they’re going to be gone or traded. I think that’s ignorant.”