What if Steve Kerr, who expects protests in NBA, takes a knee?


What if Steve Kerr, who expects protests in NBA, takes a knee?

Steve Kerr made a bunch of sense Wednesday, which is not news. In fact, as he is probably one of 29 NBA coaches who would say the same things he did, this is especially not news.

And we say 29 only because there is never unanimity on any subject, ever. We Americans believe the 28th Amendment defends the right to argue about anything.

But Kerr was asked at Wednesday’s Warriors pre-camp presser about today's athletes and their greater willingness to speak on social issues, so he did. He explained Colin Kaepernick, the current disconnect between many black people and the police who choose to go street justice as opposed to actual policing, and the right of American citizens to not only protest, but choose the way to infuse that protest with life.

[POOLE: Steve Kerr: Every American should be disgusted by killings]

And since Kerr was a certified thinker long before he became head coach of the Golden State Warriors, it only figured that (a) he would have known this question was coming weeks ago and (b) he would have an answer that showed more than the usual coachly disengagement.

Frankly, he was so pointedly thoughtful that it makes you wonder if he might not end up becoming the first coach to join an anthem protest.

“Probably one of the best things that’s come out of the Kaepernick issue is that people are talking. It’s a good thing,” Kerr told a gaggle of reporters, including Comrade Poole. “No matter what side of the spectrum you’re on, I would hope that every American is disgusted with what is going on around the country. And it just happened two days ago in Tulsa with Terence Crutcher (who was shot and killed by a policeman over the weekend). It doesn’t matter what side you’re on with the Kaepernick stuff, you’d better be disgusted by the things that are happening.

“I understand people who are offended by his stance. Maybe they have a military family member, who is offended. Maybe they lost somebody in a war, and that flag and the anthem means a lot more to them than to someone else. But then you flip it around and ... ‘What about non-violent protest?’ It’s America. This is what our country is about it. It’s non-violent protest. It’s what it should be about.”

Therein lies the Kaepernick message – defining symbols rather than behavior as the measure of patriotism. Not standing for the anthem is somehow valued as more offensive by some than not standing for the rights of the citizens whom the anthem represents.

But in many ways, that is yesterday’s message. Kaepernick has disarmed much of the debate over the right to protest, and the rest of the debate has been rekindled not by Kaepernick but by the Crutcher shooting. And to the extent that it is Kerr’s issue to discuss, he has already spoken with several of his players about the tone and tenor of whatever protests they plan to conduct once their season begins next month.

But Kerr’s own stance was not explored Wednesday, maybe because that is one step beyond what we are used to considering ourselves. Players represent themselves at times like that, while coaches are part of “the organization,” not part of the playing fraternity, and thus not only would be stepping outside their traditional roles but also have a corporate line to constantly heed.

In addition, coaches are more attuned to chain of command issues, and don’t normally step out of their assigned roles as managers. Kerr’s affinity with his players is considered closer than most, but his personal opinion on this issue sparks the question, “What if he were to take a knee, metaphorically or otherwise?”

There would of course be a measure of public hell to pay. Words like “team distraction,” “self-indulgence” and “blurred lines of authority” would be co-mingled with the usual “unpatriotic,” “disrespectful” and "dishonor,” and in Kerr’s case, the death of his father Malcolm by a member of Islamic Jihad would be used as a rhetorical weapon against him.

Indeed, the number of awkward positions this would place him in might be more than sufficient to dissuade Kerr from joining any protest, organized or individual, his players might deem proper given the tenor of the times.

But we at least have his words from Wednesday, and the attitude from which they sprang. He sees nothing noble in bad policemen, emphasis on the “bad,” and nothing good in law and order that ignores the law and makes a mockery of the order. Whether or not he takes on a visible protest stance in concert with his players is almost beside the point, because that, too, is a symbol. Knowing what he believes and feels comfortable saying is sufficiently instructive.

For now. Neither he, nor we, should make any assumptions about the future.

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

Four things we learned while Steph Curry dealt with fourth ankle injury

UPDATE (2:40pm PT on Tuessday): Steph Curry has been cleared for full team practices with the goal of playing this week, the Warriors announced.


The Warriors’ usual late-spring sprint toward the postseason, already slowed to a limp, deteriorated into a forlorn crawl Monday night in San Antonio as they were losing for the fourth time in six games.

Draymond Green, the only “healthy” member of the team’s All-Star quartet, left the game in the second quarter with a pelvic contusion and did not return.

Though Green said after this 89-75 loss to the Spurs that he doesn’t consider this a serious injury, it’s abundantly clear reinforcements can’t arrive soon enough.

Stephen Curry, a profoundly superior reinforcement, may return as soon as Friday.

Curry’s tender right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which the Warriors will establish a timeline for his return. He could, according to team and league sources, be back in the lineup Friday night when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena.

That would provide a massive injection of talent for the Warriors, who lost of three games during a four-day stretch in which they were forced to rely heavily on reserves and role players.

“We’re already shorthanded and then we lose another All-Star, the glue to our team, Draymond, at halftime,” said Quinn Cook, who in scoring 73 points over the past three games did an admirable job of trying of producing Curry-like numbers.

As good as Cook was on Monday, scoring 20 points, it’s a bit much to ask Cook to lead the Warriors past a San Antonio team fighting to extend its 20-year streak of consecutive playoff appearances.

The Warriors are built around their four All-Stars -- Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Curry and Green. They usually can withstand the loss of one, and they can often are OK missing two. But when it’s three, and possibly four, the defending champs are a home without a foundation.

As the Warriors were losing four of six games, and two of the last three, we have learned four things:

1) Cook is an NBA keeper.

The point guard from Duke, who turns 25 on Friday, has proved not only that he belongs in the league but also that he can survive in the rotation of a championship contender. He’s considerably more effective than Pat McCaw. Even if everybody were healthy, it would be hard, maybe foolish, to deny Cook minutes.

2) Kevon Looney continues to smooth the rough edges of his game.

The Warriors opened the season uncertain what they could expect from a forward that has undergone surgery on both hips. Month after month, though, he has done most everything they could have asked. He operates well in their switching defense, is effective in traffic and now he’s blocking shots and raining jumpers. At this rate, the Warriors would be delighted to have him back next season.

3) David West and Jordan Bell are in search of rhythm.

West was reliably excellent, at both ends, prior to missing five games with a cyst on his right arm. Since returning last Friday, there have been visible signs of rust. He’ll be OK in time, but at 37 likely needs another game or two to rediscover his touch.

Bell missed 14 games with a left ankle sprain, returned briefly, sustained a sprain of his right ankle and missed three more games. In the three games since his return, he has yet to look comfortable. It’s not just rust; it’s also the team around him. He’s at his best when supporting the stars. It may take him a while before he shines again.

4) Postseason minutes may be scarce for Nick Young

The Warriors hired Young to score while not embarrassing himself on defense and he has had good moments on both ends. But his inconsistency -- partly attributed to unspectacular conditioning -- grates on coaches and sometimes teammates. As much as he wants to enjoy the postseason, he’s playing his way toward an insignificant role unless injuries dictate otherwise.

Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return


Source: Warriors, Curry aiming for Friday return

UPDATE (2:25pm PT on Tuesday): The Warriors announced that following an examination by the team's medical staff, Steph Curry has been cleared to participate in full team practices beginning on Wednesday. The goal is for Curry to "play later this week."

The Warriors return to action Friday when they host the Hawks. They face the Jazz on Sunday in Oakland.


The Warriors have been without Stephen Curry for six full games and all but the first two minutes of a seventh. The last three were less out of medical necessity than an abundance of caution.

Curry could, however, return as soon as Friday when the Atlanta Hawks visit Oracle Arena, multiple sources disclosed to NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday night. ESPN, citing league sources, was first to report the team’s plan.

The two-time MVP’s right ankle is scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday, after which time a firm return date is expected.

Curry was physically able to play -- and actually pushed to return -- last weekend, according to league sources. But the Warriors, looking ahead to the playoffs and seeing diminished value in the remaining regular-season games, opted to continue rehabilitation in hopes of maximizing support for the area around his ankle.

The Warriors have described Curry’s injury not as a sprain but a “tweak,” implying less severity.

Though the Warriors won the game in which Curry was hurt, 110-107 over the Spurs on March 8, they have since lost four of six, including 89-75 on Monday in San Antonio.

The Warriors arrived early Tuesday morning and won’t practice Tuesday afternoon and are contemplating skipping an official practice on Wednesday.

The Warriors, averaging a league-leading 115.5 points per game this season, saw that figure drop to 103.3 during Curry’s six-game absence.