It was bound to happen eventually. American society, largely driven by the internet, has spent the last year more aware and concerned with police violence against people of color usually coming in a set of waves each time a new and newly horrific story arises of the unjust killing of an African American. The newest wave comes in memory of Terence Crutcher and Keith Lamont Scott, both shot to death over the last few days, and it comes after Colin Kaepernick opened up the arena of athletics to political engagement on an unprecedented level.
Of course, many members of the NBA were publicly associated with Black Lives Matter well before Kaepernick, which is why it was no surprise that many of them took to social media to express their outrage at Crutcher’s death. But their actions are now viewed within the prism of the Kaepernick protests, with many wondering if they will take their stances from social media to the court. Steve Kerr was asked about it by The Undefeated, and he was just as thoughtful and intelligent as always.
First, Kerr said he planned to have a conversation with his team, and made it very clear that he supported whatever way his players wanted to express themselves, so long as their message is “clear.” Then he offered up his own take on those who “support” Kaepernick’s right to protest, but ask that he do so without protesting the flag and anthem:
“No matter what side of the spectrum you are on, I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country, with what happened in Tulsa two days ago, Terence Crutcher,” Kerr said. “It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, on the Kaepernick stuff, you better be disgusted about things that are happening. And so, I understand people who are offended by his stance. Maybe they have a military family member who is offended. Maybe they lost somebody in a war and the flag and the anthem means a lot more to them than someone else.
“But then you flip it around, what about a nonviolent protest? This is America. This is what our country is about. It’s a nonviolent protest. It’s what it should be about. I think Colin has really clarified his message over the last couple of weeks. I think that something similar will happen in the NBA. Nobody has to be right. Nobody has to be wrong. I would hope everyone would respect each other’s point of view. There are valid points of view on both sides.”
Kerr remains as deft a public speaker as exists in the sports world, and we hope that he can get through to a few people working through their feelings on the subject. Also, his star player isn’t passively watching from the sidelines, either.
(Via The Undefeated)