Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said his team still hopes to use its visit to Washington early next year to do something to impact people, but he said he wasn’t surprised when President Trump tweeted last month that the team would not be welcome at the White House.
“We had been debating for a couple months what we would do in terms of visiting the White House, if we would or not, how it would unfold,” Kerr said in an interview with former Obama administration adviser Dan Pfeiffer that aired on Monday’s crooked.com podcast.
“We were sorting through it all, but before we could get to anything, the President beat us to the punch.
“I don’t think we would have gone. And I think he knew that. Several of us had been very critical of the president in the past year, and it would have been awkward, for sure.”
The Warriors travel to Washington to play the Wizards on Feb. 28, and Kerr said the hope is that they can do something to highlight the team’s values while they are there. He said one option is to go to Kevin Durant‘s hometown in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, and put on a basketball clinic and some kind of charitable event.
“We’ve been invited by various members of Congress to visit, so maybe we can do something like that,” Kerr said. “We’ve talked about doing what we usually do in D.C., which is visiting one of the many museums or historical sites.”
Having been to the White House multiple times himself, including when his brother worked there during the Clinton Administration, Kerr acknowledged that “more than anything, I am disappointed for the players who have never been there.”
Kerr was also asked his opinion on the Colin Kaepernick situation and ongoing protests during the national anthem in the NFL.
“Oh, he is being blackballed. That’s a no-brainer,” Kerr said of Kaepernick, whom he has never met. “All you have to do is read the transactions every day, when you see the quarterbacks who are being hired. He’s way better than any of them.
“But the NFL has a different fan base than the NBA. The NBA is more urban, the NFL is more conservative, and I think a lot of NFL fans are truly angry at Kaepernick, and I think owners are worried what it’s going to do to business.”
Kerr drew a comparison between Kaepernick and Tim Tebow, in that any team signing one of those quarterbacks knows that guy is going to be the story every day.
“If you are a general manager, you do have to worry about the circus that would erupt if you signed Kaepernick,” he said. “That’s not justifying not signing him, but it’s understanding what you’re getting into.”