Steve Kerr cites father's death in calling Donald Trump's Muslim ban 'a horrible idea'

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Ben Rohrbach
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NBA players and executives came out against Donald Trump’s unconstitutional executive order over the weekend, and now we can add coaches to the league’s list of people who oppose the Muslim ban.

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Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has been vocal all season about his thoughts on a Trump presidency, called the ban “shocking and a horrible idea” that “could be breeding anger and terror.”

Via Bay Area News Group beat reporter Anthony Slater:

“As someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, having lost my father,” Kerr said. “If we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country by really going against the principles that this country is about and creating fear, it’s the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror, so I’m completely against what’s happening. I think it’s shocking and a horrible idea and I really feel for all the people who are affected and the families that are being torn apart and I worry in the big picture what this means to the security of the world. He’s going about it completely the opposite — you want to solve terror, you want to solve crime, this is not the way to do it.”

Kerr’s father, Malcom H. Kerr, was murdered by the Islamic Jihad Organization while serving as president of the American University of Beirut in 1984. Kerr was a freshman basketball player at the University of Arizona when his father was killed. Also the grandson of a volunteer in the Armenian Genocide relief efforts, the Warriors coach spent much of his childhood in the Middle East.

Soon after telling the Christian Broadcasting Network he would prioritize Christian refugees, Trump’s executive order on Friday evening barred citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries — Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen — from entering the U.S., allowing only an exception for religious minorities. This abrupt ruling caused significant confusion around the globe Friday night, including the Milwaukee Bucks locker room at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, where teammates were concerned about Sudanese-born forward Thon Maker’s ability to return to his adopted country.

On Saturday, a federal judge ruled a portion of Trump’s policy unconstitutional, allowing immigrants with valid visas or refugee status to enter the country without risk of being detained by border police. Over the weekend, citizens of the seven countries listed in Trump’s ban were still detained and some even deported back to their native countries. By Sunday, the Trump administration was negotiating publicly for a compromise that would allow for “extreme vetting” of immigrants, including those with valid green cards and dual citizenship. In response, both Iran and Iraq considered reciprocal bans, and at least two Americans playing basketball professionally abroad were among those first affected.

Following Trump’s election this past November, Kerr was also vocal then about his criticism of Trump, saying he was “disgusted and disappointed” by the “lack of respect and dignity” during the election.

Again via Slater:

“All of a sudden you’re faced with a reality that the man who is going to lead you has routinely used racist, misogynistic, insulting words,” said Kerr. “That’s a tough one. I wish him well. I hope he’s a good president. I have no idea what kind of president he’s going to be because he hasn’t said anything about what he’s going to do. We don’t know.

“It’s tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity. There hasn’t been any. You walk into a room with your daughter and your wife who have basically been insulted by his comments. And they’re distraught. You walk in and see the faces of the players who have been insulted directly as minorities, it’s sort of shocking. It really is.”

Within 48 hours, we had a pretty good idea of the sort of administration Trump will run for the next four years, thanks to press secretary Sean Spicer’s grossly exaggerated Inauguration crowd size estimates and counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway’s ensuing “alternative facts” explanation.

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Kerr was among the NBA contingent who poked fun at both Spicer and Conway in the days after Trump’s election. Now, just a week later, those jokes have been stripped away to reveal Kerr’s horror.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!