Ahead of tonight’s Game three of the NBA Finals, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr addressed the insanity at the heart of the most recent sports-related Donald Trump controversy. Trump disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House for disrespecting the flag by peacefully protesting during the anthem during NFL games. Sure he did. We all know that the real reason for the snub was because most of the Eagles didn't want to show up in the first place. Instead, the White House pulled a last-minute substitute party out of their you-know-what in which Trump surprised exactly zero people by literally forgetting the words to ”God Bless America.” The irony would be hilarious if it wasn’t so representative of the deeply disingenuous and racist undertones running through this man’s presidency.
Steve Kerr on patriotism, the Eagles being disinvited from the White House, and how sports and politics have evolved since the '90s pic.twitter.com/a2dQ9iLg07— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 6, 2018
“What you’re seeing is athletes are showing patriotism through their community service, while the president is turning all this stuff into a political game and ratings game” Kerr said.
Kerr spotlighted Kevin Durant, who is heavily involved in community service. Most recently, he offered to pay for first year of college tuition for Bay Area students who he had mentored. Kerr also mentioned the Warriors as a whole, who also have a list of philanthropic missions to help out their community. He also took a parting shot at Trump and his viral gaffe.
“I’m blown away by the irony of the Eagles being disinvited when you read about their good deeds, and 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 [to "God Bless America"],” he said.
Kerr is no stranger to being disinvited from Trump’s White House (a move that sparked the greatest insults lobbed at Trump in history, courtesy of LeBron James’s genius “U bum!”). Following the Warriors championship win in the 2017-18 NBA season, Trump pre-empted rumors that the team would not make the traditional celebratory visit to the White House by disinviting them. "Not surprised," Kerr said at the time. "He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him."
Kerr has also gone on record many times criticizing the narrative that NFL players are disrespecting the flag when they choose to peacefully protest racial injustices and police brutality by kneeling during the anthem. Most recently, Kerr responded to the the NFL’s new policy (a move that was admittedly impacted by Trump) regarding the National Anthem by stating that “trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people, it's idiotic, but that's how the NFL is in the business.”
"I'm proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, about peacefully protesting,” he added.