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Popovich: Standing for anthem is 'personal decision'

David Dow / National Basketball Association / Getty

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich elected not to kneel with his and the Sacramento Kings players during the national anthem Friday.

Popovich didn't reveal his reasons for standing but simply referred to them as personal.

"I'd prefer to keep that to myself," he said postgame, according to Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. "Everybody has to make a personal decision. The league's been great about that; everybody has the freedom to react any way they want. For whatever reasons I have, I reacted the way I wanted to."

Popovich, 71, wasn't the only member of the Spurs who chose not to kneel, as assistant coach Becky Hammon also stood for the anthem.

Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan took no issue with Popovich and Hammon's decision.

"You know Pop speaks out. When it comes to Becky, she's been (on the) front line, fighting for equality since I've been a fan of hers playing in the WNBA," DeRozan said postgame, according to ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk. "So everybody has their own right of making a statement and you can't vilify nobody for not doing what the other group is doing. I'm all for it."

Players and coaches across the NBA are protesting racial injustice and police brutality toward the Black community by kneeling during the national anthem while wearing a shirt emblazoned with "Black Lives Matter" ahead of their games.

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac is the only player thus far to stand. Isaac said Friday that he doesn't believe kneeling or wearing the shirt goes "hand in hand with supporting Black lives." He also cited religious beliefs for choosing not to take part in the demonstration.

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