Kaepernick will ‘ultimately be a hero’: NBA’S Kerr
WASHINGTON Despite the huge step the NFL took last week when commissioner Roger Goodell said “we were wrong for not listening to NFL players,” Colin Kaepernick’s place in it as an active player remains far from certain. His place in history, one NBA coach believes, will be another matter.
“My sense a few years ago was that Kaepernick would ultimately be considered a hero,” Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Tuesday in a conference call, “based on the experience that Muhammad Ali had when he protested against going to Vietnam and was barred from fighting for years and was one of the most hated men in America and eventually became one of the most beloved.
“I think oftentimes the very act of making a groundbreaking statement can be so surprising and shocking, that it’s not fully appreciated until later on.”
NFL, NBA and other athletes have issued strong statements and protested after the shooting deaths of other unarmed black men by police, but the nightly protests since May 25, when George Floyd died when a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes might indicate, as Michael Jordan put it, that “this is a tipping point” in history.
“My sense is eventually Colin will be recognized for the gesture that he made and for the price that he paid for it,” Kerr said. “I’m glad that the NFL is now supporting him. I do think this feels different this time. More and more people are becoming truly aware of what the experience is for the African-american community and they are realizing that we have to do something about it. As a country, we can’t just sit here and nod our heads and move on with our daily existence.”
Jordan last week said he and his Jordan Brand would commit US$100 million over 10 years to “organizations dedicated to ensuring racial equality, social justice and greater access to education.” Kerr, the son of an educator, spoke about the need to “commit to teaching about the African-american experience and not the one we all learned in high school.”
He believes there’s a need to teach “some of the awfulness” that an unvarnished look at American history would involve.
“We’ve got to be able to come to grips with that before we can do anything about it. That sort of reconciliation with the sins of our past is a crucial part of all this . ... It’s hard to come to grips with what we’ve put the African-american community through.”
The Washington Post