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Popovich rips social-media idiots, bigots for national anthem attack

San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich talks official referee Bill Kennedy (55) against Miami Heduring first half Game 4 NBA Finals

San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich talks to official referee Bill Kennedy (55) against the Miami Heat during the first half at Game 4 of the NBA Finals basketball series, Thursday, June 13, 2013, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

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Updated: June 14, 2013 12:32AM



SAN ANTONIO — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rarely has a long answer for the media, but he made an exception before Game 4 on Thursday.

Popovich was asked about the fallout from Sebastien De La Cruz’s singing of the national anthem before Game 3, specifically racist attacks on the 11-year-old courtesy of social media.

“Given the fact that there’s still a significant element of bigotry and racism in our nation, I’m not surprised,’’ Popovich said. “What I was surprised by was how proud these idiots were of their ignorance by printing their names next to their comments.’’

De La Cruz is U.S.-born, and his father served in the Navy. The Spurs brought him back to perform the anthem again on Thursday.

“He’s a class act,’’ Popovich said, “way more mature than most his age. And as much as those comments by the idiots sadden you about your country, he makes you feel that the future could be very bright.’’

◆ While a lot has been made about Dwyane Wade admitting after the Game 1 loss that the Heat was fatigued in the wake of physical series against the Bulls and Pacers, forward Udonis Haslem wanted all that talk squashed.

“Mentally, we’re fine,’’ Haslem said. “Physically, we’re fine. We’re obviously at the finish line. There’s no reason, no excuses.’’

◆ Spurs point guard Tony Parker (hamstring) started Game 4.



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