From the moment the Golden State Warriors won their second NBA title in three years this past June, we wondered whether they would attend the White House while Donald Trump was in the oval office, what with coach Steve Kerr having by then already called the president “a blowhard” who “routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words” and tried signing “horrible” immigration policy into law.
Warriors players weren’t any kinder, essentially calling Trump an “ass,” but Kerr revealed over the weekend what was the last straw in this White House saga: The rally in which Trump referred to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch” who deserved to be fired.
“This is another reason why all of us on our team have a tough time with the president, because instead of unifying and trying to calm the storm, he’s creating it, over and over again,” Kerr told CNN’s David Axelrod. “We see it with his tweets every day. He used the words ‘sons of b****es’ to talk about NFL players who have made it clear they’re protesting racial inequality and police brutality,. Those are sons of b****es? Really? You’re the President of the United States and you’re going to call them sons of b****es? And you’re going to call Kaepernick out for non-violent protests, a staple of American democracy? That’s really hard to deal with. And for me that was probably the hardest one to deal with. The personal slights that we’ve seen from Trump, you sort of get used to it after a while, you get numb to it, but that one really stung, because it was so divisive and it was so angry and it just didn’t make sense.”
Kerr said in June the Warriors would consider a visit “out of respect for the office,” and even on the eve of Trump’s rally in Alabama the team was having backchannel discussions with the White House and planning to meet as a team to discuss their final decision. This despite Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Shaun Livingston, David West and Andre Iguodala all saying publicly they would not attend.
It was Curry’s “I don’t want to go” statement hours before Trump’s rally that seemingly stuck in the president’s craw when he woke up the next meeting and rescinded the Warriors’ invite on Twitter:
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
That prompted the Warriors to issue a press release shortly after the president’s rescind of an invitation that was never extended, expressing regret for not being able to share their views and opting instead for a day of service during their annual visit to Washington to play the Wizards:
Statement from the Golden State Warriors: pic.twitter.com/6kk6ofdu9X
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) September 23, 2017
“We see what President Trump does with his words, with his actions, and it’s difficult to reconcile that and just say we’ll put all that aside,” Kerr told CNN’s The Axe Files, via USA Today. “He can make fun of handicap people. He can say a lot of nasty things, ugly things, whether it’s about women, whomever. There can be a lot of things that happen that are just really difficult to just say, ‘All right, we’ll put that aside and go visit and shake his hand.’ It doesn’t feel right.”
This isn’t all that different from what Kerr wrote in an open letter to the president in Sports Illustrated the day after the dis-invite: “Would we have gone? Probably not. The truth is we all struggled with the idea of spending time with a man who has offended us with his words and actions time and again.”
And it’s not much different from what the Warriors coach told “Pod Save America” last month: “I don’t think we would’ve gone, and I think he knew that. Several of us had been very critical of the president in the past year, so it would’ve been awkward, for sure.” Kerr has said repeatedly that the Warriors were interested in speaking with Trump outside of the usual photo-op, “but that’s kind of far-fetched.”
Kerr going on CNN to discuss for a third time the Warriors’ reasoning for opposing the president’s politics and not attending the White House falls in line with his intellectual curiosity about all things politics, but it goes against his most recent wish that the media would just stop covering Trump.
Of course, Kerr also wished Trump would “just be quiet,” and the president spent Thanksgiving weekend claiming Time magazine wanted to name him Man of the Year, urging Alabama to vote for a Senate candidate repeatedly accused of being a child predator and promoting Fox News as if he were Rupert Murdoch’s propaganda puppet, so the Warriors coach might as well take every opportunity he can to hammer home why he believes Trump is “ill-suited to be president.” And on CNN, no less.
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