Steve Kerr, head coach of the Golden State Warriors — the defending NBA champions — praised athletes’ activism off the court as true patriotism while criticizing President Trump’s “blatant display of nationalism.”
During an interview on Wednesday, Kerr was asked about his comments on the Philadelphia Eagles being disinvited from the White House visit sitting presidents traditionally extend to sports teams who win championships, prompting Kerr to talk about what he viewed as “patriotism.”
“I think the athletes are showing patriotism through their community service. The president is turning all this stuff into a political game, and a ratings game, and it’s a blatant display of nationalism,” Steve Kerr said, in reference to Trump’s “Celebration of America” held in place of the Eagles’ visit to the White House. Kerr praised Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who recently responded to Trump’s withdrawal of the White House invitation in a silent interview, presenting reporters with flash cards calling for criminal justice reform.
“What patriotism is is helping your fellow citizen,” Kerr added. “I’m blown away by the irony of the Eagles being disinvited. When you read about their good deeds in their communities, Malcolm Jenkins addressing lawmakers, really trying to get to the root of some of the issues we have, and instead we have these military sing-a-longs at the White House to show how patriotic we are, even though we don’t know the words. It’s just incredible.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr on White House controversy:
"I'm blown away by the irony of the Eagles being disinvited. … Instead we just have these military sing-a-longs at The White House to show how patriotic we are, even though we don’t know the words." https://t.co/dLRT50KTJA pic.twitter.com/vw0vN99I4H
— ABC News (@ABC) June 6, 2018
When Steve Kerr’s Warriors won the NBA Finals last year, they became the first championship team to be disinvited from visiting the White House after starting guard Steph Curry said he was hesitant about whether or not he would go to the Trump White House. President Trump publicly announced the withdrawing of the White House invitation due to Curry’s statement, prompting Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James to call the president a “bum.”
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 23, 2017
Tyronn Lue’s Cavaliers and Steve Kerr’s Warriors are meeting in Game 3 of the 2018 NBA Finals tonight. Both James and Curry have both said that regardless of who wins this year’s championship, neither team will be visiting the White House.
Logan Espinoza is a freelance contributor specializing in economic issues. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife and daughter. Contact him at logan DOT espinoza AT yahoo DOT com.