OAKLAND – The substance of Donald Trump’s rapid-fire tweets has continuously irked Warriors guard Stephen Curry. So did Sports Illustrated’s recent cover that featured protesting athletes except for former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
The cover featured Curry locking arms with Cavaliers star LeBron James and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Warriors coach Steve Kerr stood behind next to WNBA star Candace Parker. The cover did not feature Kaepernick, however, despite being the first NFL player last season to sit and kneel during the national anthem.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 26, 2017
“I thought that was terrible. It’s kind of capitalizing on the hoopla, the media and all that nonsense,” Curry said at practice on Wednesday. “This is about the real people that are understanding exactly what is going on and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference. If you don’t have Kaepernick front and center on that, something’s wrong. It’s kind of hard to see how certain narratives take place, being prisoners of the moment.”
Curry has become front-and-center after he reiterated his stance last Friday he would decline a White House invitation to celebrate the Warriors’ 2017 NBA championship. Although the Warriors insisted they would still meet as a team before deciding officially, Trump announced on Twitter he withdrew an invitation that was never formally sent.
Two days after Trump used vulgar language in describing NFL players that sit or kneel during the national anthem, an increased number of NFL players did just that to protest police brutality and racial inequality. Trump has repeatedly echoed his supporters that say such a protest disrespects the American flag, military members and veterans. Curry stressed that athletes are simply protesting racial inequality.
“That’s the genesis of our stance. If you watched us all last year for us, we stood during the national anthem,” Curry said. “Certain teams locked arms and had demonstrations. The NFL has taken a different approach. It’s about the message. It’s not just about the act. For the life of me, if that doesn’t get across to everybody, it’s not about disrespecting anything about the flag or the anthem. Then we can hopefully move in the right direction.”
The NFL has taken a different approach partly because the league allows players to sit or kneel. The NBA requires players, coaches and trainers to stand and line up along the sidelines or foul line during the national anthem. Last season, several NBA teams locked arms.
What will the Warriors do when they host the Denver Nuggets in their preseason opener on Saturday at the Oracle?
“We haven’t talked about it as a team. But I don’t know, to be honest with you,” Curry said. “We understand exactly there will be all eyes on us when we go out there before the game on Saturday. As our organization said, everyone has the right to do what they want to do and voice what they want to voice and stand for what they want to stand for. That will all show on Saturday.”
Then again, Curry stressed, “it’s about the true message and highlighting the people that are doing the right things.” That might entail accepting an invitation that Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Barbara Lee sent after the Warriors won the 2017 NBA title. On Tuesday, Pelosi tweeted that “the offer still stands.”
“I am pleased that Coach Kerr and the Warriors are open to our invitation,” Lee said in a statement. “When the Warriors come to Washington, we will welcome them with open arms and celebrate their sportsmanship and grace both on and off the field. In these difficult times, this show of Golden State values and unity is exactly the reminder our nation needs of what democracy truly stands for.”
Though Kerr said “everything is on the table,” the Warriors do not have definitive plans considering they do not play the Wizards in Washington until Feb. 28.
“It’s all about spreading love and support,” Curry said. “I thank Nancy for making that gesture. Obviously we’ll figure out what we’re going to do exactly in February. Hopefully we can rally a lot of different people from a lot of different backgrounds with different situations to share the same message.”
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