“Generally, my feeling is the things that I’m going to comment on are the things that I feel comfortable speaking about, things I feel well versed about. … There are places where I don’t feel as comfortable. This would be one of them,” he said.
Kerr said pretty much the same thing Monday night, when the controversy that has roiled the NBA all week was still in its relative infancy. This drew the derision of President Trump, who on Wednesday mocked Kerr for not having a take. Kerr, Trump said, was acting “like a little boy” and “was so scared to even be answering” a question about the issue.
The Warriors coach, who has spoken out about a number of social issues during his tenure, didn’t seem scared to answer a question about Trump’s comments on Thursday night.
“I realize the horse was out of the barn a long time on this,” he said. “But for me personally, this was my experience with, wow, has the office sunken low. My hope is that we can find a mature unifier from either party to sit in that chair and try to restore some dignity to the Oval Office again, and I think it will happen.”
Kerr’s father, the president of the American University of Beirut, was assassinated by gunmen in Lebanon in 1984, when Kerr was a freshman at Arizona. On Thursday, Kerr pointed to the welcome he and his mother received at the White House from President Ronald Reagan following that tragedy to illustrate the gulf between then and now.
“I was thinking about my various visits to the White House,” Kerr said. “I’ve lived a privileged life and met, I think, the past five previous presidents prior to President Trump. The first one was in 1984, and Ronald Reagan was president. He invited my mom and me, six months after my dad was killed in a terrorist attack. President Reagan and Vice President [George H.W.] Bush invited us into the Oval Office, spent about half an hour with us thanking us for my dad’s service — he was in education. Thanking us for my dad’s commitment to American values in the Middle East. Trying to promote peace in the Middle East. And all I could think of last night was the contrast of what has happened in 35 years. There was no regard for whose side you were on politically. Political party, anything like that. It was just, you were an American. The office held such dignity and respect — both from the people who were visiting and especially the people who sat inside it. It’s just sad it’s come crashing down. That we are now living this.”
Kerr also deflected criticism he’s received from some corners about having opinions on social issues facing the United States as a whole but not the one involving the NBA’s financially beneficial relationship with a nation that has a spotty human rights record.
“The same people who are asking me to stick to sports are also asking me to expand my horizons,” Kerr said. “I guess that’s what I’m hearing. Again, I will speak on the things I’m comfortable with. I will do things I believe are helpful for my country. I love my country, despite what President Trump said yesterday. I work really, really hard on a lot of things off the floor. One of those things is I don’t want people to feel what my family felt when my father was killed. I know what it feels like to have a family member ended by a bullet. So that’s a passionate, passionate subject for me. So I research it, I’m involved with various organizations, I’m constantly meeting with people, fundraising. It’s part of my life.”