As the Golden State Warriors were getting ready to play the Dallas Mavericks in Game 4 of the NBA Western Conference finals on Tuesday, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr didn’t want to talk about basketball. Instead, he turned his attention to a deadly mass shooting at a Texas elementary school that left at least 21 people, including 18 children.
During the pregame press conference, Kerr delivered an emotional speech condemning gun violence and blasting Republicans for refusing to vote on gun control legislation.
“I’m not going to talk about basketball, he began. “Nothing’s happened with our team in the last six hours. We’re going to start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter.”
“Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher. In the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California. Now we have children murdered at school,” he added.
“When are we going to do something? I’m tired. I’m so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there. I’m so tired. Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough!”
“There are 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. And there’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power,” Kerr said.
“So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and 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? Because that’s what it looks like. It’s what we do every week.”
“So I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. We’re going to play the game tonight. But I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, or mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?”
“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 — yea, Go Dubs. C’mon, Mavs, let’s go. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go play a basketball game. Fifty senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks — universal background checks? Ninety percent of us.”
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we, the American people, want,” he complained.
“They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough!” he declared before storming out of the press conference.
Steve Kerr on today's tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 24, 2022