Popovich slams Texas governor over 'ignorant' mask decision

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San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has criticized a decision by Texas Governor Greg Abbott to end the state's mask mandate as "ignorant"

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday his team would ignore Texas' decision to lift a state-wide mask mandate, branding the move by Governor Greg Abbott as "ignorant."

Abbott announced Tuesday he was ending the state's mask mandate in a bid to open up Texas "100 percent", despite fears from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention it could lead to a resurgence of Covid-19.

Speaking on the sidelines of San Antonio's 119-93 win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday, Popovich said the Spurs would continue to follow NBA protocols which require players, coaches and officials to wear masks.

"As far as the players go, we listen to the NBA, not the governor," Popovich told reporters, condemning Abbott's ruling as a "mystifying decision."

He criticized "act(ing) like the pandemic is over... when all the science tells us the opposite".

"We already went through this once, and now we're gonna to do it again? There will be more infections one would think."

"It puts a lot of businesses in a tough spot I think," the 72-year-old added. "They're trying to do a good job keeping everybody safe, of course they want to open up."

Abbott imposed a mask mandate in the second most populous US state eight months ago. He said Tuesday an executive order rescinding his previous Covid-19 orders and restrictions would take effect on Wednesday.