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Texas church gunman sent hostile text messages before attack

  SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas, United States --- The gunman who killed 26 people at a small-town Texas church sent threatening text messages to his mother-in-law before the attack, which appeared to have been driven by domestic tensions, authorities said Monday. A day after the deadliest mass shooting in state history, investigators also revealed that the shooter had been confronted about domestic violence at least twice in the last five years, including an assault on his ex-wife and a child that ended his Air Force career and another report of violence against a girlfriend who became his second wife. In the tiny community of Sutherland Springs, population 400, grieving t...Keep on reading: Texas church gunman sent hostile text messages before attack.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerNov 7th, 2017

Church shooting victims face many obstacles in court

    CHICAGO---Texas church shooting victims and their families could have a hard time successfully suing the government over the Air Force's failure to submit the gunman's criminal history to the FBI---a step that would have blocked him from legally buying weapons.   Relatives of the more than two dozen churchgoers killed in Sunday's attack would face major obstacles, including protections written into law to shield the military from certain legal action. An easier route might be to seek help from Congress, which could pass a law acknowledging the Air Force's mistake and offering compensation.   A look at some of the key issues involved:  ...Keep on reading: Church shooting victims face many obstacles in court.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 10th, 2017

AP Explains: Why smartphones are giving the police headaches

BOSTON, United States --- The phone used by the gunman who fatally shot 26 people inside a small Texas church has become the latest flashpoint in the privacy wars. Federal investigators complain that they can't get into Devin Patrick Kelley's phone thanks to security features that shield messages, photos and other stored data from prying eyes. Such measures present a growing frustration for the FBI, which says it's been unable to retrieve data from roughly half the mobile devices it's recently tried to access. Technology companies insist that strong security based on data-scrambling encryption is essential to protecting digital privacy. Law enforcement officials grumble that wa...Keep on reading: AP Explains: Why smartphones are giving the police headaches.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 8th, 2017

Small Texas community reeling from church attack that left 26 dead

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, Texas --- A gunman dressed in black tactical-style gear and armed with an assault rifle opened fire inside a small South Texas church, killing 26 people in an attack that claimed tight-knit neighbors and multiple family members ranging in age from 5 to 72 years old. Once the shooting started Sunday at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, there was likely "no way" for congregants to escape, said Wilson County Sheriff Joe D. Tackitt Jr. Officials said about 20 others were wounded. "He just walked down the center aisle, turned around and my understanding was shooting on his way back out," said Tackitt, who said the gunman also carried a handgun but t...Keep on reading: Small Texas community reeling from church attack that left 26 dead.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Gunman opens fire on Cairo church; shootout kills at least 9

CAIRO, Egypt --- A gunman on a motorcycle opened fire Friday outside a church in a Cairo suburb and at a nearby store, sparking a shootout that killed at least nine people, including eight Coptic Christians, authorities said. It was the latest attack targeting Egypt's embattled Christian minority. The gunman was also killed, along with at least one police officer, officials said. The local affiliate of the extremist Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack late Friday, saying it was carried out by a "security detail" and that one of its men was "martyred" in the strike. The claim was carried by the group's Aamaq news agency. The attack began when the ...Keep on reading: Gunman opens fire on Cairo church; shootout kills at least 9.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsDec 30th, 2017

Gunman kills 9 in attack on Egypt church

CAIRO, Egypt (UPDATED) – A gunman opened fire on a church south of Cairo on Friday, December 29, killing at least 9 people before policemen shot him dead, officials and state media said.  Health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told state television that the gunman who was shot dead had killed 9 people ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 29th, 2017

US massacre

US mourning after gunman kills 26 at Texas church service SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, United States -- The United States was in mourning Monday after a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire with an assault rifle on the congregation of a smalltown Texas church, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more….....»»

Category: newsSource:  journalRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Texas gunman’s in-laws sometimes attended church, sheriff says

A man thrown out of the U.S. Air Force for beating his wife and child shot and killed 26 people in a Texas church where his in-laws had sometimes worshipped before shooting himself, officials said on Monday, in the latest in a string of U.S. mass shootings. Source link link: Texas gunman’s in-laws sometimes attended church, sheriff says.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Texas mass shooting leaves U.S. mourning, Trump says guns not to blame

TEXAS, USA – The United States was in mourning Monday, November 6, after a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire with an assault rifle on the congregation of a small-town Texas church, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more in the nation's latest shooting massacre. US President Donald Trump ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

PH grieves with U.S. after Texas mass shooting – DFA

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines condoles with the US over the latest mass shooting in there, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said Monday, November 6. A gunman opened fire at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas on Sunday, November 5, killing 26 people and injuring at least 20 others. "The Filipino people ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Texas mass shooting leaves US mourning, Trump says guns not to blame

SUTHERLAND SPRINGS, United States: The United States was in mourning Monday after a gunman wearing a bulletproof vest opened fire with an assault rifle on the congregation of a small-town Texas church, killing 26 people and wounding 20 more in the nation’s latest shooting massacre. President Donald Trump said the nation was living through “dark [...] The post Texas mass shooting leaves US mourning, Trump says guns not to blame appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimesRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Porzingis pours in 40, Knicks come from 19 down, beat Pacers

By Adry Torres, Associated Press NEW YORK (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 40 points, carrying the New York Knicks back from a 19-point deficit to a 108-101 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). .@kporzee dropped 40 points, grabbed 8 boards, and erased 6 shots to help the @nyknicks get the come from behind W against the @Pacers. pic.twitter.com/LaaE5ABfni — NBA Philippines (@NBA_Philippines) November 6, 2017 Porzingis added eight rebounds and six blocked shots in his seventh 30-point performance in nine games this season. Rookie Frank Ntilikina made the tie-breaking three-pointer with 1:34 remaining as the Knicks won for the fifth time in six games after an 0-3 start. He had 10 points and seven assists off the bench. Thaddeus Young scored 18 points and Victor Oladipo had 17 for the Pacers, who led 84-65 with under two minutes remaining in the third quarter. Porzingis, who played after tweaking his left ankle in a 37-point performance Friday night (Saturday, PHL time), reeled off nine straight points that made it 84-74 in the opening seconds of the fourth. He scored 24 points over the final 13 minutes of the game. After Ntilikina's three-pointer made it 102-99, Knicks center Enes Kanter picked up a bad pass by Darren Collison and fed Tim Hardaway Jr. for a layup that made it 104-99 with 1:10 to go. Oladipo cut the deficit to 104-101 with 32 seconds left in the game, but Lance Thomas' two free throws made it 106-101 to seal the comeback win with 11.9 seconds to play. Myles Turner added 15 points and Collison had 15 points and 10 assists for the Pacers, who've lost two straight. TIP-INS Pacers: F T.J. Leaf, who sprained his left ankle during Friday night's (Saturday, PHL time) game in Philadelphia, did not play. ... Domantas Sabonis had 16 points off the bench. Knicks: Kanter grabbed 18 rebounds. SOMBER MOMENT A moment of silence was held prior to the national anthem at Madison Square Garden after a gunman killed 26 people and injured at least 20 at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. HOME COOKING The Knicks improved to 3-1 during their five-game homestand, which equals their longest of the season. They have two more home stretches of five games later in the second of the season, March 11-19 and March 31-April 9. UP NEXT Pacers: Host New Orleans on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time). Knicks: Host Charlotte on Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time)......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

26 killed in church attack in Texas deadliest mass shooting

26 killed in church attack in Texas deadliest mass shooting.....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

Some 25 dead in Texas church shooting

TEXAS, USA – A gunman went into a Baptist church in Texas during Sunday morning services November 5, and shot dead some two dozen worshippers, the sheriff said, in the latest mass shooting to shock the United States. "Approximately 25 people" were dead, including the shooter, Wilson County Sheriff Joe ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsNov 6th, 2017

NFL seeks quick action to get Elliott suspension reinstated

em>By Schuyler Dixon, Associated Press /em> The NFL filed an emergency motion in federal appeals court Friday, hoping to get a swift ruling on its request to overrule a judge who blocked a six-game suspension for star Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott in a domestic violence case in Ohio. The league filed its request with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans, even though a federal judge in Texas hasn’t ruled on a request to put the injunction on hold while an appeal is pursued. The emergency motion asks the court to rule on the request to suspend U.S. District Judge Amos Mazzant’s injunction as early as Tuesday, the start of the practice week before the Cowboys’ third game of the season against Arizona. If the ruling isn’t made by Tuesday, the NFL is asking for a decision by Sept. 26, the start of practice before Dallas’ Week 4 home game against the Los Angeles Rams. Elliott had already been cleared to play in a 19-3 win over the New York Giants in the season opener before Mazzant granted his request for an injunction. Last year’s NFL rushing leader will play Sunday at Denver under Mazzant’s ruling. The 22-year-old Elliott was suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell in August after the league concluded following a yearlong investigation that he had several physical confrontations last summer in Ohio with his girlfriend at the time. The NFL players’ union sued on Elliott’s behalf. In its emergency motion, the NFL reiterated previous arguments that Elliott’s attorneys sued prematurely because arbitrator Harold Henderson had yet to rule on the running back’s appeal of the suspension. The appeal was denied the same day as arguments over the request for an injunction from Mazzant in Sherman, Texas, about 65 miles north of Dallas. The NFL ultimately wants to get the case moved from Texas to the Southern District of New York. That was the venue for the league’s successful appeal after a federal judge had overturned New England quarterback Tom Brady’s four-game suspension in the “Deflategate” case. The NFL contends Mazzant’s ruling was an unnecessary interference in the league’s labor deal with the players. “Put differently, the six-game suspension approved by the arbitrator will ultimately stand, and no one’s interests are served by delaying that discipline based on a misguided order by a district court that lacked jurisdiction,” the NFL wrote in its motion. Mazzant’s ruling took aim at Henderson and the NFL , saying decisions not to allow Goodell and Tiffany Thompson, the ex-girlfriend, to testify at the appeal were among several factors unfair to Elliott. The NFL has maintained that it followed all procedures for discipline in the collective bargaining agreement. Three years ago, the NFL stiffened its domestic violence policy with the six-game standard and more investigative power. The changes came after the league was sharply criticized for its handling of a domestic incident involving former Baltimore running back Ray Rice. According to the letter Elliott received informing him of the suspension last month, the NFL believed he used “physical force” three times in a span of five days in a Columbus, Ohio, apartment last July resulting in injuries to Thompson’s face, neck, shoulders, arms, hands, wrists, hips and knees. Prosecutors in Columbus decided about a year ago not to pursue the case in the city where Elliott starred for Ohio State, but the NFL kept the investigation open. The league said its conclusions were based on photographs, text messages and other electronic evidence. Elliott rushed for 1,631 yards as a rookie to help the Cowboys to the best record in the NFC at 13-3. He had 104 yards in the opener against the Giants. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 16th, 2017

Rebel attack in Davao City sparks ‘word war’

DAVAO CITY – It’s a war of words and insults now between the New People’s Army and presidential daughter and current mayor of Davao City, Sara Duterte-Carpio who branded the communist rebel group as “stupid and bumbling idiots” after calling her a “hypocrite”. The rebels recently attacked a factory of the Lapanday Foods Corporation owned by the wealthy Lorenzo family in Davao City and shot one of its security guards and wounded a civilian; and accused the company of land grabbing and exploitation of its workers. Carpio, who strongly condemned the attack, said it was an act of terrorism and a personal insult. Restituto Baguer, a spokesman for the “Pambangsang Katipunan ng mga Magbubukid” allied with the rebel group, accused Carpio of being a hypocrite, saying his husband, lawyer Mans Carpio works as a legal counsel for the Lapanday Foods Corporation. He also tagged the mayor as a spokesperson and defender for Lapanday Foods Corporation. “It is understandable that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte (Carpio) views the May 29 NPA’s punitive action in the city as an “act of terrorism” against the Lorenzos, given that her husband, Atty. Mans Carpio, is a legal counsel of the Lorenzo-owned Lapanday Foods Corp. We can only expect that a GRP local chief executive who has vested interest in the companies of a land grabbing comprador-landlord to be the latter’s spokesperson and defender,” Baguer said. He added that Carpio was silent when armed men allegedly working for Lapanday Foods Corporation shot and wounded 9 farmers at a banana plantation last December in nearby Tagum City in Davao del Norte province. And even appointed Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum, then the provincial police chief of North Cotabato as Davao City police chief despite his alleged human rights abuses. “Sara Duterte hardly made noise when Lapanday’s armed goons opened fire and wounded nine unarmed civilian peasants three days after the latter’s land occupation of the land grabbed Lapanday banana plantation in Tagum City last December. Duterte also supported the appointment of Superintendent Alexander Tagum as Davao City Police Chief, the same fascist police officer who led the massacre of barricading El Niño victims in Kidapawan City in April last year,” Baguer said. “Thus, for Sara Duterte to claim the NPA’s assault in the Lorenzo-owned businesses in Davao City a “personal insult,” is not only hypocritical but downright self-serving. Nothing can be farther from the truth when she scored the NPA as a group that pretends to champion social justice and equality. For peasants around the region, the NPA’s series of raids in Lapanday’s plants in Mandug and Bunawan, and ranch in Pangyan, Calinan (also in Davao City) is a fitting retributive action by a true people’s army against a greedy feudal lord and capitalist,” he added. Inday Sara retaliates Carpio, known for her feisty character, said she and husband are separate entities and do not discuss their jobs to each other, but are only committed to work for their own family. “My husband and I are separate entities. In fact, we do not discuss the job that we chose to do, we just commit to sincerely work and earn money for the benefit of our children,” she said. She also narrated how she rushed to the hospital to personally look at the situation of the wounded civilian, Larry, who is a fruit and fish vendor who fell victim to an NPA bomb explosion during the April 29 raid at Lapanday Foods Corporation. “So let me make you understand why I condemned what the New People's Army have done. On or about 8 o'clock in the morning of April 29, 2017, I was standing in the middle of the trauma room of the Southern Philippines Medical Center praying that the civilian who was injured in the IED blast &'' courtesy of the terrorist NPA &'' will not die. Larry had no one with him so I was the one who had to read through his text messages to look for a family member. I was the one who called his wife, broke the bad news, and asked her to come and stand by her husband's side.” “One of his text messages spoke of his work as a simple laborer, who sells fruits and fish. The victim was the very person that you say should be defended from injustice. So when I condemned what the NPA did, I spoke for Larry. But you did not know that, did you? You just assumed when I say personal, it is all about my life. Because that is how you are. You are selfish individuals and you think the world is all about you. As Mayor tasked with the responsibility of the safety of civilians, the injury of Larry is my injury,” Carpio said. She further said the incidents in the cities of Kidapawan and Tagum were not her concern being the mayor of Davao City. But she admitted that she personally favored Tagum to be the chief of the local police force because of his tough stance against the NPA. “I personally made it happen that Senior Superintendent Alexander Tagum come in as Director of the Davao City Police Office, because he stood his ground against you. The so-called punitive action against the company was nothing but an action against peace, economic stability, and the security in Davao City. We now have 130 employees without work and Larry still in a coma. And yet the Lorenzos will still have money that you and I can [&'].....»»

Category: newsSource:  mindanaoexaminerRelated NewsMay 1st, 2017

Nueva Ecija governor’s assistant shot dead

TALAVERA, NUEVA ECIJA -- A 38-year-old assistant of Gov. Czarina Umali was killed while her husband was wounded in a gun attack in Barangay Marcos here around 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. Mary Anne Hernandez and her husband, Carlito, 45, had stopped at a gas station when a gunman approached and shot her multiple times, killing her on the spot, said PO2 Gilbert Dizon, town police investigator. Carlito, who was driving their sports utility vehicle, was also struck by bullets meant for Hernandez, Dizon said. Their two children and a househelp were seated at the back of the vehicle but were unhurt. The gunman drove off in a motorcycle following the attack. Carlito is currently being treated...Keep on reading: Nueva Ecija governor’s assistant shot dead.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

The case for Keenum: Vikings QB keeps on disproving doubters

By Dave Campbell, Associated Press MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — When Minnesota's offense huddled for the first time that mid-September afternoon in Pittsburgh, Case Keenum's energy and confidence quickly filled the circle. The Vikings were forced to turn to their backup quarterback to start the second game of the season after Sam Bradford's knee acted up, an ominous development that can doom a team to an autumn of disenchantment and playing for draft pick position. Despite the decisive defeat against the Steelers that day, though, there was a certain assurance Keenum gave his teammates that suggested they'd be all right. "He's a guy you want to play for," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. Four months later, the Vikings and Keenum are still playing. They're two wins away from reaching the Super Bowl. "It's been a blast, man. It's been incredible. I'm sure one of these days I'll be able to look back and really appreciate it, but there's so much to enjoy right now," Keenum said. "Not really putting too much into perspective. Not really looking too much at the big picture. I'm keeping my blinders on." With a modest 6-foot-1, 215-pound frame, Keenum was mostly ignored by major college programs despite leading Abilene Wylie High School to its first state championship in football-obsessed Texas. Houston made his only FBS scholarship offer, from then-head coach Art Briles, and by the time Keenum was finished with the Cougars he was the NCAA's all-time leading passer with 19,217 yards and 155 touchdowns. Yet he still went undrafted in 2012, needing the Houston Texans practice squad to get his professional career off the ground. Keenum started 10 games over the next two years before being traded to the Rams in 2015, but they made Jared Goff the first pick in the 2016 draft so there was no future for Keenum there beyond being a veteran mentor. Even Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was among those who typecast Keenum as a just-in-case second-stringer. Zimmer acknowledged recently he didn't gain full confidence in Keenum until the 11th or 12th game of the season and, when Teddy Bridgewater was cleared to play in mid-November, Zimmer never declared Keenum the starter for more than a week at a time. "He just wanted a chance," his father, Steve Keenum, said this week in a phone interview. "He's got to have the knack. It's just a God-given, innate thing that he's maximized by working hard." As the oldest of his three children, Case made clear at an early age to Steve that he had the makeup to be an NFL quarterback even if there was no way to predict how the skill set would unfold. "He was competitive in everything. It could be a board game. It could be playing darts. It could be playing cards. It didn't matter. But if it had a ball, he wanted to do it," said Steve, who was a high school and college coach around Texas for 24 years, including 10 seasons as the head coach at his alma mater McMurry University. Good coaching, starting with dad's tips in the family backyards, was another success factor. When Briles left for Baylor, Kevin Sumlin arrived at Houston for Keenum's sophomore year. Dana Holgorsen, now the head coach at West Virginia, was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. After he departed, Kliff Kingsbury, currently the head coach at Texas Tech, took charge of the quarterbacks. "They had some speed, and the next thing you know they were throwing the ball all over the field," said Steve, who attended all 57 of Case's games with the Cougars and has been to each game he's played for the Vikings. "They had some really talented kids. People talked about him being a system guy, with short passes and a run after the catch, but they didn't see him play." Steve is now an area director for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, an organization that Case has long been active in as well. "He's come to the realization like a lot of people in big situations that there are things that are really too big to do by yourself, and in order to stay grounded you've got to find somebody or something that you believe strongly in," Steve said. "I think his faith has been that for him." Though Keenum had prior NFL experience, including nine starts for the Los Angeles Rams in 2016, he was signed by the Vikings as a one-year stopgap to be the guy in the ball cap providing sideline support and give Bridgewater ample time to recover from his colossal knee injury. Bradford had just produced an injury-free career-best performance in 2016, after all, so the Vikings were banking on him. Over the last four months, though, they've been cashing in on Keenum, a dividend that has paid out handsomely for both parties. "We've got a great group of guys here," he said, "and I think we're all excited to be extending our season." With offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur deftly adapting the team's scheme to use Keenum's mobility to better advantage and a sleeker offensive line mostly protecting him well, the Vikings have leaped up the league rankings in every significant statistical category. Among them: 28th to ninth in scoring touchdowns on possessions after passing the 20-yard line, and 19th to third in third-down conversions. Keenum will start his first playoff game Sunday against New Orleans, with a raucous home crowd at U.S. Bank Stadium ready to cheer the next step toward the franchise's elusive first championship. "Our fans are awesome," Keenum said. "All my friends and family who have come up from Texas and my friends from other teams that come in, they'll text me after the games and they'll be like, 'Dude, that place is ridiculous.' It really is.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

College girl admits fabricating her own abduction

CEBU CITY --- It turned to be all fabricated. The police found out that the young woman only made up the story that she was abducted by five men to avoid paying the money given to her by school officials to buy books. Chief Insp.Jacinto Mandal, Carbon police station chief, said they were mulling filing charges against Kristel Jade Wety, 21, just to teach her a lesson. Wety, in the meantime, was in the custody of her mother after she claimed she was released by her abductorson Mondaynight, hours after the supposed abduction. Wety sent a barrage of text messages to her sister, asking for help because she had been abductedabout8 a.m.on Mondayby five men -- three foreigners and t...Keep on reading: College girl admits fabricating her own abduction.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 9th, 2018

House panel OKs bill vs spam messages

The House of Representatives’ Committee on Information and Communications Technology has approved a measure that seeks to protect phone subscribers from unsolicited calls and spam text messages through the institution of a “No Call, No Text” registration system. The bill, yet to be numbered, aims to protect the interests of mobile phone subscribers and promote [...] The post House panel OKs bill vs spam messages appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 8th, 2018

Popovich s odd alliance with red state fans

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com SAN ANTONIO -- About 400 people gathered at the Oak Hills Country Club in June 2016 and paid $500 to $250,000 to sip iced tea and nibble hors d’oeuvres next to a golf course designed by noted architect AW Tillinghast, who built many. One is owned by the man who was feted at this political fundraiser, Donald J. Trump. The presidential campaign was in full blast and saltier than the crackers on the cheese plate being passed around. Fresh off the plane, Trump thanked the Republicans for the big ‘ole Texas welcome, witnesses say, before launching a blistering attack on the usual targets: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, illegal immigration. Then, near the end of his 30-minute lunchtime appearance, in an effort to connect with the locals, he pivoted and mentioned perhaps the most famous man in town: Gregg Popovich. Witnesses say Trump called Popovich “a great coach” and said “he does a good job” and then there was some fidgeting in the room when the soon-to-be polarizing leader of the free world said this: “I don’t know if the coach is on my side.” Confirmation came emphatically, right after Trump won a divisive election that November. The coach of the Spurs lit into the President over the next several months with a handful of rants that had the stealth of Kawhi Leonard ambushing a timid ball-handler. In no particular order, here were Pop’s Greatest Hits, all issued through the media and without prompting or provocation: “The disgusting tenure and tone and all the comments … have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic. I live in a country where half the people ignored that to elect someone.” And: “He is in charge of our country. That’s disgusting.” And: “The man in the Oval Office is a soulless coward who thinks he can only become large by belittling others.” And: “We have a pathological liar in the White House ... You can’t believe anything that comes out of his mouth.” Popovich didn’t stop there with a President whose sensitivity and intelligence he questioned and accused of being guilty of “gratuitous fear-mongering.” When he took Trump to task for criticizing NFL players who knelt during the National Anthem and defended their rights to do so, Popovich also suspected a measure of the public outrage was racially motivated. “Our country is an embarrassment to the world,” he said. A 68-year-old wealthy white man, therefore, became a sports voice with weight in the political and social justice arena, where the NBA league office has greenlighted players and coaches to speak up. Popovich has done so with clarity and insight to gain national applause in certain corners. He wasn’t the first or the last in sports to verbally spank the president or tackle right-leaning sensitivities, yet he’s certainly the most unique in one respect. As a graduate of the Air Force Academy who works in a military town, and a five-time NBA champion coach who might symbolize the city more than The Alamo, Popovich has long been elevated to icon status, perhaps permanently so, in San Antonio, where folks are mad about the Spurs. Still, this is mostly conservative Texas, one of the most Republican of states based on the state legislature and the congressional delegation, a state that voted Republican in 10 straight presidential elections and saw 52.6 percent of voters punch for Trump. While voters in San Antonio-proper lean liberal, the surrounding areas swing solidly the opposite. Julianna Holt, the Spurs CEO and Popovich’s boss since March after assuming the position held for 20 years by her husband Peter, supported various Republican presidential candidates before eventually donating $5,400 to Trump’s campaign and $250,000 to the Trump Victory Fund, according to Federal Election Commission records. Popovich is therefore a blue blood in a red state and the contrast makes for strange if not uncomfortable alliance between a beloved coach and a group of conflicted Spurs worshippers. His views have in fact shattered the sacrilege by generating hostility from a segment of the basketball flock, something no coach with his credentials would ever feel. The constant winning and acts of charity do not insulate him from those who would prefer Popovich stuff a sweat sock in his bullhorn. Party lines not Popovich's focus “While we all believe Gregg Popovich has the right to his opinions, where was Popovich when Hillary called half of us a 'basket of deplorables?’Many were Spurs fans who are now tired of being insulted ... many of us will never pay to see a Spurs game again.” -- Donna Howington  “The money I will save this year not attending Spurs games should buy me a nice set of golf clubs. Thanks Pop!” -- Jake Ingorgia  “I will never watch them again until Popovich is gone. He is just like all the other leftist celebrities.” -- Lee Harbach, Bulverde They arrive on cue, most from the dusty towns that orbit around San Antonio, some from the city itself. Popovich has unloaded three times this year on Trump, once after the election, once at the start of training camp and most recently by cold-calling Dave Zirin, a friend and liberal writer from The Nation, a progressive magazine. And each time, the letters land in the office of Ricardo Pimentel, the editor who coordinates the comments section of the Express-News, San Antonio’s newspaper of record. “It’s a cycle,” says Pimental, with a sigh. “He speaks out. People who disagree with him send us letters to the editor, then people who object to their disagreement write us letters to the editor defending Pop. Then they respond to one another.” The initial reaction, he said, is always stacked against Popovich and many identify themselves as Spurs fans ripping up their tickets or promising to never attend or watch games again. Even if those who made threats actually carried them out, the change in the Spurs’ home attendance is a blip, from 99.2 percent capacity last season to 98.6 so far this season. Popovich, of course, has been big for business since his first full season as coach in 1997-98. Besides the titles, the Spurs have reached the playoffs every season and won 50 games every season (except for the lockout-shortened 50-game 1998-99 campaign, when they won 37). In short, Popovich's Spurs have a track record beyond reproach in the NBA. If the 2017-18 Spurs stay on pace, it’ll be 20 straight winning seasons for Popovich, one more than Phil Jackson for the all-time NBA record. He hasn’t been this politically vocal until lately, due to Trump, yet was always politically aware, say those who know him. Well-versed through his readings and observations, Popovich welcomes discussion with acquaintences about classism, leadership, government and preferably over a bottle of wine. His two-decades exposure to young black men from humble beginnings raised his awareness and sensitivities about race and bias. Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr once played for the Spurs and lately has echoed many of the same thoughts as Popovich. But Kerr coaches in the Bay Area, where folks nod their heads in agreement. Kerr said he can only imagine the flak Popovich catches in Texas. “Here’s this iconic coach who stands for everything that’s right and for honor and integrity, he served in the military, you see him stand at attention for the American flag — man, Pop loves his country,” Kerr said. “And in the middle of Texas for him to be questioning the Republican President, some of the people down there are probably confused. Like, 'I don’t get it, we love this guy but he’s on the other side from us.' “What I love about Pop is that it’s not about party, not about politics. It’s about integrity and character and that’s what people need to pay attention to. It’s not about some policy, not about how much we pay in taxes. If we can just get back to the point where character matters, then we’ll be in better shape. The problem is, it’s clear character has gone down the tubes in many leadership positions in our country. That’s what Pop is calling out.” True enough, Popovich never publicly attached himself to a political party; to suggest he is against Republicans might be as misleading as believing Colin Kaepernick is against the military. When he played for Popovich, Kerr couldn’t recall a time when the coach was this annoyed by the country’s leadership. “The country was in a better place in terms of a relatively peaceful time back then,” Kerr said. “Yes, 9-11 happened and the whole world changed. But we didn’t have quite the same partisan nature, not only in politics but the national conversation. And so people could just admire Pop for who he was and people might not have been aware of his political leanings because they didn’t ask. When we won and went to the White House, Pop and the team went when Bush was in office. We went in ’99 when President Clinton was there. Republican, Democrat, didn’t matter. The times are so different now.” Kerr laughed quickly when asked about the semi-serious groundswell of social media support for a Kerr-Popovich ticket in 2020. Kerr said he hopes to be on his fifth NBA title as a coach then, but turned semi-serious about Popovich. “Our country needs somebody like Pop who can actually lead and unite from a position of authority and credibility,” Kerr said. “This guy served in the military, grew up in a melting pot, understands leadership. More than anything, he’ll cut through all the [expletive].” Since going nuclear on Trump, Popovich declined invites from the national political shows (and wouldn’t comment for this story). That proves what friends have maintained all along: Popovich doesn’t want to be anyone’s political hero or pundit. He’d rather speak when the moment calls for it, then be left alone. That last part is tricky, though. Empathy often marks Popovich's way “Can you imagine being Republican on the Spurs? Would you feel welcome? He’s like Berkeley -- for free speech unless you disagree with him. Shut up and coach, Gregg.” -- Shannon Deason  “When it comes to coaching basketball or drinking wine, Popovich has experience. When it comes to our country, his opinion is no better than anyone else’s." -- Harold Siemens, Seguin  “Open letter to the NBA referee who ejected Pop from the Warriors-Spurs game: Don’t feel bad about what Gregg Popovich called you. He called the POTUS worse and got away with it.” -- Larry Peabody Once the wheels touched down, the pilot jokingly announced over the loudspeaker: “Welcome to Gregg Popovich International Airport,” and one particular passenger noticed that nobody on the plane thought it was strange. Sean Elliott always knew how deeply rooted Popovich is with San Antonio. Aside from the famous Spanish missions and the River Walk, the city is known for the only professional sports team in town. And while George Gervin, David Robinson and Tim Duncan have come and gone, the one lingering reminder is a sometimes gruff and scruffy coach, maybe the NBA’s best ever. “He’s one of the pillars of the community,” said Elliott, twice an All-Star with the Spurs. “He’s looked at with great admiration. He is as respected as anyone who has ever lived in or been part of the city. It’s not just because he’s a basketball coach. Pop has been a big part of the community, huge contributor to charitable functions, good leader.” Elliott was a Spurs rookie in 1989 when their relationship began and he saw the start of Popovich’s reach in the region. Popovich then was an assistant coach under Larry Brown and just planting his feet in the NBA. That summer, Elliott and Popovich piled into a van with the team's "Coyote" mascot and conducted basketball clinics in San Marcos, Corpus Christi, Laredo and similar places. They were signing autographs in malls and running kids through drills in 100 degree heat, never hearing a complaint from the coach. Elliott said folks in those small conservative towns loved him. “If you sit and hear him talk about something, you tend to agree with him,” Elliott said. “He’ll put it in a logical way and he’s very thoughtful, well read and super intelligent, maybe the most intelligent person I’ve ever known.” The owner of the Spurs then was Red McCombs, a homespun Texan who made his fortune in car dealerships and media companies. McCombs didn’t give Popovich the coaching job after firing Brown, telling Popovich “you’ve got a chance to be a great coach” if he got more experience, which he did, going to the Warriors to work for Don Nelson. Popovich returned to San Antonio two years later as general manager, then became coach and the rest is history. Now 90, McCombs said: “Popovich has become the distinguished part of the franchise. He wears it well. Can’t say enough about what kind of man he is and what he’s meant to San Antonio. God has blessed us with Gregg Popovich.” McCombs loves to tell how Popovich, by chance, learned that a local family needed a car. The coach wrote a check, gave it to the father and walked away. McCombs said it was “typical Popovich” who has empathy for those with less. McCombs, curiously, has traditionally been one of the biggest Republican bankrollers in the state, who gave to the Trump campaign and is fully aware of what Popovich thinks of his choice for President. And so one of the most powerful men in Central Texas, who leans politically to the color of his nickname, had a strong reaction to that. “He’s earned the right to give his comments about citizenship or Trump or anything else,” said McCombs, voice rising. “Yes, he made some statements that others might disagree with. But I’ll tell you this: Popovich would be elected to anything he wants to in San Antonio.” Remaining silent never an option “Our country is not an embarrassment to the world. I will tell you what an embarrassment is. It is an American citizen who got a free education from the great Air Force Academy ... and then has the audacity to say that the greatest nation in the world is an embarrassment because the President rightly demands that Americans stand for the anthem. Popovich should be ashamed of himself.” -- Nick DeLouis, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Nowhere on God’s green Earth do they have the right to disrespect our flag and the men and women who died to keep us free. I’m appalled that you stooped so low to join in that disrespect. Shame on you!” -- Fred Martin, Fair Oaks Ranch  “Coach Pop has squashed my love and enthusiasm for the team. A national treasure, he is not. Coach Pop has a voice, but not my voice." -- Jo Ivan A few years ago Popovich was in New York with his daughter to catch a Broadway play when the coach had a last minute change in strategy. He learned that John Carlos was giving a lecture at New York University that night. So Popovich told his daughter to take one of her friends instead; said he was going to see “Dr. Carlos” speak. “When he came in I was surprised and delighted,” Carlos said recently. “Quite naturally, everyone knew who he was but he just wanted to sit and listen.” A year later, in 2015, Popovich flew Carlos to San Antonio to address the team and Carlos admitted to being star struck around Tim Duncan and others. Yet Carlos was most curious about Popovich and why the coach took a strong interest in an Olympic sprinter who raised a fist on the victory stand in 1968, which is frozen as an iconic civil rights moment. “Being with the Spurs gave me an opportunity to check his character out,” Carlos said. “I knew he was a whiz at putting players together to bring out their best ability. But through my conversations with him it became apparent that he was a social activist himself at one point in his life. He was teaching his players about activism and to be concerned about their fellow man and what was going on around their lives, not just basketball. “I was impressed. He just wanted them to know they had a larger role than just playing basketball in the society in which they live.” Carlos, therefore, was not surprised to see Popovich defend the rights of kneeling black football players who came under attack from Trump. On the first day of training camp in September, Popovich said: “Obviously race is the elephant in the room and we all understand that. Unless it is talked about constantly it is not going to get better.” What followed was another swirl of exchanges between Popovich critics and supporters in San Antonio, and Popovich acknowledged receiving mail from both sides. The anti-Pop mail, though, was jarring to Carlos, given the coach’s work in town. “When people write and lambast him for taking leaders to task for what they’re doing to society, that’s like water rolling off a duck’s back, man,” Carlos said. “When they write negative things about him, it encourages him to keep doing what he’s doing. Those people are the problem. Go ahead and throw stones and it just motivates him to do his job. “Look, I’m a black man who spoke out. Imagine what they think of him as a white man who speaks just as strong, to try and get people to see things in a better light? They throw stones at him even more, like, 'Hey you’re white, you have a great life. Keep your mouth shut.’ Well, God points people in certain directions. We know who we are. We do what we do.” And what Popovich does is enlist the help of giants in the social justice world and bring them into his world. He did that with Cornel West, the Harvard professor and civil rights activist, last fall. Popovich invited West to San Antonio to speak at an East Side community center with a few hundred mostly black and Latino students and their parents. Done without TV cameras or media invitation, the discussion was about the importance of education, the imperfect world, self respect and how to help communities. This was an audience that, presumably and unanimously, connected with a white man who didn’t live among them, but was with them. They were the people Popovich had in mind when he attacked present leadership. This was not the audience that writes to the Spurs and the Express-News asking him to take a vow of silence, though he is aware of them, too. “Some responses make you wonder what country you live in,” Popovich said, “and other responses make you very hopeful … overall, it renews my feeling that something must be done because there is enough people willing to listen.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 5th, 2018