Texas head coach Shaka Smart joined the nation’s ongoing political discussion after the Longhorns’ season-opening win over Incarnate Word on Friday, calling Donald Trump’s election as President, “a slap in the face.”
Joining NBA head coaches like Stan Van Gundy, Steve Kerr and Gregg Poppovich in their dismay over the results of Tuesday night’s election, Smart told reporters on Friday night that Trump’s victory was going to be tough for him to deal with.
“When someone is elected who has a history of being hateful, of being racist, of being sexist, of saying certain things that are derogatory toward a certain group, it feels like a slap in the face,” Smart said, according to the Austin American-Statesman. “That’s how some of [our players] felt. But you know what? We’re going to have to move forward. They’re not going to do another election. It is what it is, and we have to respond the right way. … Our country’s spoken. America’s got some issues. But this is not surprising based on the history of America.”
Smart’s comments are interesting because we haven’t seen many college coaches publicly make remarks during what has become a very divisive election. While pro coaches have the luxury of only playing for one, or a small group of owners, Smart is representing a state university. Part of his job is fundraising and dealing with boosters and alums in what is traditionally a very Republican state.
The comments Smart made against Trump are going to rub some Texas fans the wrong way, but he’s also in a city, Austin, that tends to be far more liberal than the rest of the state of Texas. As Smart also noted, some of his players felt the same way he did, and the basketball community, in general, tends to be a bit more liberal-leaning as well.
Smart is absolutely entitled to publicly state his opinions over politics — just like the rest of America — and it’ll be fascinating to see what kind of reaction comes of this.