Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr met with media members Tuesday and share some thoughts on the political movement going on in our country now that includes NBA players participating in protests.
Q. You’ve coached so many players that have spoken out about so many different racial issues over the years. What do you think you’ve learned from those experiences, being able to talk with them about those things?
STEVE KERR: Well, I think we’ve always been very open as a coaching staff. We’ve tried to give our players plenty of freedom and space to speak their minds, not only with you guys, with the media, but also within our circle, within the confines of the organization and the team.
I think that’s especially important right now. I think our players have grown comfortable speaking out about the things they feel are important. Now is a really important time to do so.
So we will try to continue to foster that kind of free thinking and free-flowing communication with our players and our fans, understand the role that we can play not just in entertaining our fans but being part of the community, being part of an overall community commitment to trying to build a safer and better society in the Bay Area.
I think everybody plays a role in that, every citizen. Our players have big platforms to help along those lines. I’m proud that they’re using them.
Q. Does this feel different this time where you have people taking to the streets all over the country, from rural towns to huge cities? You’ve done town halls on gun violence, social issues. Could it be different this time?
STEVE KERR: Yeah, I think so. It feels different. We haven’t had this level of public protest in a long time. Obviously these things happen for a reason. They just don’t come about all at once. There’s a lot of frustration and trauma. There’s a lot that goes into this.
So I think, again, we all can play our own role in trying to help our community. What that means for us as an organization, I think it means educating ourselves and educating our players, and in turn us trying to help educate people in general. We do a lot of appearances. Our players do a lot of appearances in schools. We have a huge educational component to our community foundation.
I think probably the most important thing we can really do in my mind, after giving this a lot of thought, is really commit to teaching people about the African American experience in this country. I’m not talking about the homogenized one that we all learned in American history in high school. We need to learn the real American history, the one that tells the truth about some of the awfulness to it.
We’ve got to be able to come to grips with it before we can do anything about it. That sort of reconciliation with the sins of our past is a crucial part of all this. It requires a big effort for everybody to actually come to grips with that.
It’s really hard for us. Since we love our country, it’s hard for all of us to really come to grips with what we’ve put the African American communities through the course of American history. Most people really don’t know. I know my education excluded so much of that.
So I would like to think that we can make a really concerted effort to learn more about that in order to be able to make some strides socially and politically. It’s the only way we’ll have the foundation upon which to do so.