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Popovich slams GOP-led efforts to overhaul election rules


Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Saturday decried efforts by Republican leaders in Texas to emulate recent action taken by Georgia Republicans to massively overhaul state election law, which critics say is a bid to suppress Democratic votes.

“I just think of our own state here in Texas, and we are doing the same things that just happened in Georgia as far as voting rights are concerned,” Popovich said. “We have a governor (Greg Abbott), a lieutenant governor (Dan Patrick) and an attorney general (Ken Paxton) who helped promote the idea the election was stolen. They conducted themselves in such a way to help a lot of people to believe the big lie that Joe Biden did not win the election.

“And they knew better. They are not idiots. They are deceitful, disingenuous, cynical and very dangerous people to our democracy. And what they are trying to do in our state mirrors what has happened in Georgia. So, hopefully, people understand that these are not people to be believed.”

Although he admitted last month there were no known cases of voter fraud in the state in 2020, Abbott has taken steps through legistlative action to ensure what he called “election integrity” in Texas.

Abbott, Patrick and Paxton did not respond to requests for comment.

Reacting to a question during a pre-game media session about Atlanta losing this summer’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Friday over objections to the changes to Georgia voting laws, Popovich called on the public to look with skepticism at efforts by Republicans in other states to take similar action.

MLB yanking the All-Star Game from Atlanta marked the first economic penalty against Georgia after Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the sweeping changes into law last month. The Atlanta Hawks, the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, the Atlanta Falcons and the CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola also joined the corporate backlash.

Kemp said Democrats have mischaracterized the law’s purpose, the Associated Press reported. The law includes enhanced legislative control over the way elections are conducted and restrictions on voting by mail.

Popovich, coach of the 2021 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball team and an Air Force Academy graduate who served as an intelligience officer in Turkey during the Cold War, and other critics believe GOP lawmakers initiated the changes partly because of false claims of fraud in the 2020 elections by former President Donald Trump and his supporters.

“This is a time where it’s dangerous territory, as most people understand, for the democracy,” Popovich said. “And standing up for principles that represent our country, the majority of people, are very important right now rather than allegiance to one individual, which is what a lot of this is about.”

In Texas, major corporations have condemned Republican legislative proposals — House Bill 6 and Senate Bill 7 — they say would limit voter access. Fort Worth-based American Airlines targeted Senate Bill 7, which the state Senate approved last week.

“We are strongly opposed to this bill and others like it,” American wrote in a statement. “As a Texas-based business, we must stand up for the rights of our team members and customers who call Texas home, and honor the sacrifices made by generations of Americans to protect and expand the right to vote.”

Dieng upgraded;

Walker still out

After missing two consecutive games with a right shoulder sprain, recently acquired Spurs big man Gorgui Dieng has been upgraded to questionable for Monday night’s game against Cleveland, according to Sunday’s injury report.

Dieng suffered the injury in his Spurs debut against Sacramento last Wednesday.



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