USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich called former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's actions in his fight for social justice "a very patriotic thing" on Tuesday. 

Popovich has commented before on various current affairs in society, including a few times on Kaepernick in the past. Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 in protest of police brutality and racial inequality.  

The longtime coach of the San Antonio Spurs and a graduate of the Air Force Academy, Popovich said he thinks Kapernick bringing issues to light is an example of exercising one's own patriotism. 

"Patriotism means a lot of things to different people," Popovich told reporters in Los Angeles following Team USA's practice ahead of the FIBA World Cup. "There's people who are truly committed in that sense and people who are fake. The show of patriotism I think is a bit inappropriate and that is not something that I think we want to emulate. Because someone hugs a flag doesn't mean they're patriotic. Being a patriot is somebody that respects their country and understands that the best thing about our country is that we have the ability to fix things that have not come to fruition for a lot of people so far.