Stephen Curry pushes back against idea his status means he shouldn’t speak out

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Stick to sports. Stay in your lane. You’re privileged to be playing a game for a living, you should be thankful not criticizing the president.

Stephen Curry heard it all — and much worse, in much more angry and vulgar language — after he spoke out against the Warriors visiting President Donald Trump in the White House. It was fodder for the class of political talking heads, particularly on the right, to use as another anger-driven rallying cry (one that frankly rings hollow, but we’ll get to that).

Curry pushed back against that notion he shouldn’t speak out in an interview with Chris Haynes of ESPN.

“I’ve heard a lot of backlash from this whole thing last weekend about how much money we make and ‘what are we complaining about?’ and ‘we’re in a bubble, we don’t have the same struggles and stresses of life [compared] to other people,'” Curry said. “And, obviously, I come from a privileged background with my dad playing in the NBA. I’m not denying that, but the majority of the NBA players come from the same backgrounds and socioeconomic situations that these criticisms are coming from.

“It gets lost. We have families. We’ve got people around us that are going through the same thing. How that all kind of takes shape is ridiculous to me — trying to minimize what we’re talking about because we have money. That doesn’t make any difference to us. And hopefully with that money, we can do a lot of good with it. We still have family and people that we are connected to, that we feel what real life is like.”

The tradition of champions — in all sports — going to the White House is just a little bit of political theater. It’s a photo op. It’s PR for the president and the team, nothing more. If someone doesn’t want to participate in that — Curry with Trump or Tom Brady with Barack Obama — so what?

As for the talking heads on the right, Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN made a fantastic point on Zach Lowe’s podcast: If you back President Trump because he was going to shake up Washington, because he was not going to just play along with the norms and traditions of the office, if you liked that he was just going to speak his mind, then how do you slam an athlete (or anyone) who says “I don’t want to be part of this norm and tradition” and speaks their mind? You can’t have it both ways, it’s hypocritical. Not that anyone cares, it’s ginned up outrage that sells.