Spurs’ Gregg Popovich calls book ban ‘intellectual and moral and criminal corruption’

CHICAGO — Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Monday lambasted Texas parents pushing for the removal of books from public libraries and state schools.

“Just thinking about banning books seems to me to be intellectually and morally corrupt and criminal, and you wonder why a parent would take that stance?” said Popovitch. “Do you really want to raise your child in ignorance? Are you purposely raising your child in ignorance so that he doesn’t understand history and facts? You don’t think he has the capacity to understand this in a analytical and decide what he wants to do.

Popovich’s unsolicited comments came during a pregame session with reporters that lasted about 20 minutes. After answering questions about basketball for about 12 minutes, Popovich spent the rest of the time talking politics.

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“What’s really interesting about this, I hope a lot of these kids are going to find out for themselves and find out anyway,” Popovich said. “And they’re going to go to their parents and say, ‘What the hell were you doing?’ They are so ignorant that they cannot understand this part. So because of their fears and worries that they think they will lose their privilege, they will protect their children and make them grow up in ignorance. It’s just a concept that’s beyond me.

Texas public libraries, including some in South Texas, are issuing a series of book challenges from residents.

Many of the challenges have come in the wake of state Rep. Matt Krause, who last October launched an investigation into school library reading materials in his role as chairman of the House Committee on General Investigations.

As a result of Krause’s investigation, Governor Gregg Abbott asked the Texas Education Agency to investigate the capacity for “pornographic books” in schools. School districts responded by launching reviews of their collections while state officials began investigating student access to inappropriate content.

In San Antonio, the Northeast Independent School District, one of the largest in the state, pulled more than 400 books from its library shelves in December for review after Krause flagged them as inappropriate.

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Later that month, 75 library books were flagged for removal by North East ISD librarians. A district spokeswoman said the books contained “vulgar or obscene material” or “were not age appropriate”.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that many of the challenges started with titles on Rep. Krause’s list, including ‘The Handmaid’s Tale: The Graphic Novel’ by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault,” said Shirley Robinson, director executive of the Texas Library Association, in a Feb. 8 email to PolitiFact Texas.

“However, from there, the issue continued to snowball on a case-by-case basis, with individuals taking it upon themselves to carefully and subjectively select a selection of books to challenge based on specific themes and genres,” added Robinson.

In a November letter to heads of the Texas Education Agency, State Board of Education, and Texas State Library and Archives Commission, Abbott raised concerns about books with sexual content found in public high school libraries, reported the Austin American-Statesman.

The majority of books named in the status letter discuss or reference sexuality, LGBTQ identity and race, the statesman reported. An October analysis by The Dallas Morning News found that 97 of the top 100 titles listed were written by women, people of color or LGBTQ authors, according to the Statesman.

Colin L. Johnson