Steve Kerr has been in the spotlight recently for what he won’t say as much as what he will.
The Golden State Warriors head coach has been particularly conscious of his words following Houston general manager Daryl Morey’s since-deleted tweet supporting Hong Kong protesters kicked off an international controversy between the NBA and its partners in China.
Without delay, China began suspending ties with the Rockets as the NBA tripped over itself trying to satisfy its foreign partners, domestic fans and revenue-hungry stakeholders.
As one such stakeholder, it makes sense Kerr would be careful with his public statements, telling reporters he didn’t “feel versed enough to comment” when asked for his opinion on tensions between Hong Kong and China.
That may very well be the case. But a quick scroll through the coach’s Twitter account shows a retweet from Kerr that offered support for Hong Kong’s protest among other authoritarian concerns.
Kerr’s retweet of a tweet sent by political commenter Ben Rhodes on September 17 — just a few weeks before Morey’s Hong Kong tweet — was resurfaced in a Reddit post on Friday. It was still on Kerr’s Twitter feed as of Saturday afternoon.
Retweets, it’s worth remembering, are not always endorsements. And one can be against authoritarian regimes without knowing the particular details behind each confrontation between governments and protesters. Still, it’s notable given how the NBA has reacted to Morey’s tweet that Kerr has similar content on his page.
Whereas Morey is facing threats to his job and backlash abroad for his post, Kerr’s retweet has gone relatively unnoticed. As the controversy engulfed the league and drew criticism from politicians on both sides of the aisle, the Warriors’ coach kept quiet — and was then ridiculed for it.
Steve Kerr no comments on the Morey/China/NBA situation. Says he’s been reading about it, doesn’t feel versed enough to comment. Full back and forth here. pic.twitter.com/HM1NuF46vG
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) October 8, 2019
Kerr’s decision to remain quiet on the situation made him an easy target for President Donald Trump, who quickly pounced on the chance to mock one of his louder critics.
So funny to watch Steve Kerr grovel and pander when asked a simple question about China. He chocked, and looks weak and pathetic. Don’t want him at the White House!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 12, 2019
That extended the story another day and led to Kerr responding directly to the president’s tweet Thursday during a media availability, where the Golden State coach said he would continue speaking out about issues that were “near to his heart”.
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