SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP ) — Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr found himself on the defensive for not attending a rally in California’s capital city after he pledged his organization’s support to the family of an unarmed black man killed by police.
Kerr has been outspoken against gun violence but his team held a shootaround Saturday morning before its game against the Sacramento Kings, so the Warriors did not attend a rally led by former Kings and Warriors star Matt Barnes to support Stephon Clark.
“I’m coaching the Warriors tonight and we’re kind of busy today,” Kerr said before adding, “I think you guys know our team, we’re very socially aware and active and we’ve got a lot of players who do a lot of good in the community and who care about what’s going on. And we all care about what’s happening here and we’re very compassionate first and foremost to the Clark family but also to the community. We support the protests. Everybody in our organization wants to see a change and wants to see justice. So we’re supportive. We have a job to do, so we’re here to play the game tonight.”
The defending champions had dropped three straight games and seven of 10 with several star players injured.
Last weekend, Kerr took part in the Oakland March for Our Lives. Before that, on March 12, he joined Democratic Congressmen Ro Khanna and Mike Thompson – chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force – and students from throughout the South Bay during a town hall at Newark Memorial High School to discuss gun violence in schools and applauded the efforts of youth nationwide.
Kerr’s father, Malcolm, president of the American University of Beirut, was murdered in Beirut when Kerr was 18 and a freshman at the University of Arizona.
Kerr talked about picking spots to make his voice heard.
Tyler Tynes, a reporter for SB Nation, asked Kerr whether “there’s a contradiction there when you talk a lot about race or an issue like that and there’s a march or somebody gets killed and you don’t actually show up?”
Kerr didn’t appreciate being questioned about his choice.
“You’re serious?” Kerr asked. “It’s up to each individual if he is going to pick his spots to make his contribution to society. I’m very confident and comfortable in my own skin and our players’ lives, what they do for our communities, the way they speak out, the way I’ve spoken out. I feel very, very confident in what we’ve tried to do, and I’m also very, very serious about my job. So, you can balance that any which way you want, you can be accusatory if you’d like. I’m comfortable with what our team does and with what I do.”