Warriors coach Steve Kerr fed up with 'children murdered at school'
SAN FRANCISCO - In a pre-Game 4 Western Conference finals news conference Tuesday afternoon, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't want to talk about basketball.
Instead, a visibly furious Kerr voiced his strong opinions against gun violence stemming from the deadly elementary school mass shooting in Texas.
He got tears in his eyes as he spoke about the 19 children and two adults killed earlier in the day at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, by 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was also killed in the rampage.
He cited last weekend's massacre at a Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, New York, where an 18-year-old white gunman killed 10 shoppers in a predominantly Black neighborhood.
And Kerr mentioned the death and injuries incurred at a Southern California Taiwanese church over the weekend.
"And now we have children murdered at school," Kerr said before pounding on the table.
"When are we going to do something?" he shouted.
"I'm tired, I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there," Kerr said, choking on his words as he struggled to maintain composure.
Kerr said he was sick and tired of holding moments of silence.
Kerr has said he has repeatedly spoken out against gun violence.
It's a personal fight for the coach.
When Kerr was in college his father, Malcolm Kerr, who was president of American University of Beirut was assassinated by a gunman in 1984.
He laid into politicians who would not take up the issue of gun control.
"There are 50 senators right now, who refuse to vote on HR-8, which is a background-check rule that the House passed a couple years ago," he said, wading into the politically charged world of gun control.
Kerr called out those who won't vote on the bill.
"There's a reason they won't vote on it; to hold on to power," Kerr said. "So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all our Senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings, in supermarket shootings. I ask you: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children? And our elderly? And our churchgoers?"
Kerr then turned his attention to basketball.
The Warriors could sweep the series by beating the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.
And Kerr obviously wanted to win, despite the national tragedy.
But he also didn't want the game to overshadow the more important fight to reduce gun violence and seemingly endless massacres.
"We're going to play the game tonight, but I want every person here…I want every person listening to this to think about your own child, or grandchild or mother or father or sister or brother…what would you feel if this happened to you today?" Kerr said. "We can't get numb to this. We can't sit here and just read about it and go, ‘Well, let’s have a moment of silence. Yeah, ‘Go Dubs. C'mon Mavs, let's go.'"
Before abruptly leaving the room, Kerr said that while his team was playing basketball, "50 senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage….It's pathetic."