Mike Krzyzewski sounds off on 'insurrection' at Capitol: 'They need to be prosecuted'

Jack Baer
·3 min read

The sight of supporters of President Donald Trump storming the U.S. Capitol have sparked horror and outrage across the sports world, but it hit especially hard for a West Point graduate watching from home.

Mike Krzyzewski, speaking to the media for the first time since an exposure to COVID-19 earlier this month, launched into an extended tirade when asked about the riot at the Capitol on Saturday.

The Duke coach called for all people involved in the riot to be prosecuted, and for the politicians defending the incident to be chastised. Alternating between saddened, perplexed and outraged, he discussed Wednesday’s events, the COVID-19 pandemic and current political situation.

The beginning of Krzyzewski’s answer:

The sorriest day — I’m 73 years old — outside of 9/11, shootings at schools where kids have gotten shot and killed. And by the way, I know everyone went under desks and that at the Capitol. I’d like to ask how many times have teachers had to do that at school when there’s gun violence?

Wednesday was a horrible day. It was an insurrection. It went to the very fabric of this great country; the symbol for our democracy is that Capitol, and we allowed that symbol to be really just spit on and stepped on. It was a sorry day.

My prayers go out to the officer’s family who was killed from the Capitol police, just like my prayers go out to the 16,000 families that have lost loved ones in this last week. Are you kidding me? There’s 16,000. And that whole thing, like, what the hell are we doing? What the hell are we doing? Where we can’t work as a country to come together and get these vaccines out, makes sure that we’re coming together. And if someone’s doing something bad, Congress has the responsibility of stepping forward.

Krzyzewski has been among the more outspoken coaches in college basketball when it comes to playing through a pandemic, a topic where several of his peers disagree with him.

Krzyzewski, who rose to the rank of captain in the Army, isn’t the only former member of the military in sports to publicly denounce the riot, as San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, an Air Force veteran, went even further by attacking Trump’s character and speculating that the president enjoyed watching the scene.

A past supporter of the Republican party, Krzyzewski has been somewhat critical of Trump in the past. On Saturday, he urged for the country to move past partisanship:

Everyone who was involved, they should be prosecuted. And our leaders, our politicians who spoke up in support of that, should be chastised. There’s no question about it. This is not about being a Republican or a Democrat, it’s about being a damn American.

People say that’s not who we are, that is who we are right now. It is who we are. We need to change who we are. We need to get back to the basic principles that have founded this country. So again, I’m sorry for getting on a pulpit, but being home and watching that, my West Point background and being in the Army and all that, I’m used to being on a team. Our country needs to be a team again.

WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA - FEBRUARY 25: Head coach Mike Krzyzewski of the Duke Blue Devils during the first half during their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at LJVM Coliseum Complex on February 25, 2020 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Coach K wants the Capitol rioters to be prosecuted. (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

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