Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr blasted the NFL for its decision to mandate that players stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room, calling it “typical” of the way football does business.
“They’re basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people,” Kerr said, via Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business. I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, peacefully protesting.
“I think our leadership in the NBA understands that the NFL players were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They weren’t disrespecting the flag or the military. Our President decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base.
“That created this hysterical, . . . It’s kind of what’s wrong with our country right now. People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties and make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is.
“It’s a representation of what we’re about — diversity, peaceful protest, right to free speech. It’s really ironic, actually, what the NFL is doing.”
The NBA also requires players to stand for the anthem, but professional basketball has also operated from a position of trust with its labor force, and a track record of social involvement and willingness to take stands. The NBA also consulted with players when formulating their anthem policy, which seemed to go a long way with labor.
Kerr and the Warriors are also used to sticking it to the man, as their invitation to the White House for winning last year’s NBA title was rescinded by Donald Trump after a number of players said they wouldn’t go. Kerr also referred to Trump as a “blowhard,” which gives him something in common with at least one NFL owner.