Mike Krzyzewski transcended basketball Saturday during his postgame press conference following the Wake Forest game, giving a goosebumps-worthy response when asked about Wednesday’s riots at Capitol Hill.
“Wednesday was a horrible day. It was an insurrection. It went to the very fabric of this great country where the symbol for our democracy is that Capitol,” Krzyzewski said in what was his first press conference since the riots. “And we allowed that symbol to be really just spit on and stepped on.”
Despite the press conference being virtual, the clear passion and emotion in Krzyzewski’s voice gave his words a meaningful punch that resonated deeply.
“This is not about being a Republican or a Democrat. It’s about being a damn American. Be an American. Work together,” Krzyzewski said.
Prior to his Duke tenure, Krzyzewski played and coached at West Point, and on Saturday he emphasized the importance of our country needing to take a deep look in the mirror.
“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.”
Krzyzewski sent out his thoughts and prayers to not only the family of the Capitol police officer who died during the riots, but also to the 16,000 Americans who died due to COVID-19 this past week.
“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, make sure that we’re coming together,” Krzyzewski said. “And if someone’s doing something bad, Congress has the responsibility of stepping forward.”
He added that every person involved in the riots should be prosecuted and the politicians who voiced their support of the riots should be “chastised.”
Get Overtime, all Duke athletics
Signup for our editorially curated, weekly newsletter. Cancel at any time.
As for the future of the country, Krzyzewski left with this.
“I’m used to being on a team. Our country needs to be a team again.”