Kaeper­nick will ‘ul­ti­mately be a hero’: NBA’S Kerr

Calgary Herald - - SPORTS -

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

Steve Kerr

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