Like most sports figures reacting to the three guilty verdicts in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Warriors coach Steve Kerr thought the jury reached the proper conclusion.
“It’s all right there on tape,” he said shortly before tipoff against the Wizards in Washington, D.C. “There’s nothing that anybody on TV can say to change the fact that George Floyd was murdered by a police officer. And the jury saw it that way because that’s what happened.”
What aggravated Kerr was the messaging from news media. While most news outlets reported facts and reaction, others sought to focus on Floyd, attempting to criminalize or imply that his actions made him responsible for – or deserving of – ending his life under Chauvin’s knee.
“Turning on the news last night, the difference between one network and another was dramatic – and disgusting – because you know it’s just for profit,” Kerr said. “It’s a reminder of the times we’re living in.
“The world is a weird place to be in right now. We live in a society, in a country, where division and disinformation are being basically sold for profit. It’s just a fact. There’s so much out there that’s false, that’s being hawked, whether it’s on TV or online or on the radio or wherever. False information that’s being hawked in order to create division amongst us because there’s a huge profit to be made.”
The problem, Kerr implied, is that some outlets have an identifiable agenda. To touch emotions and sow disagreement in hopes of attracting attention that results in increased revenue.
Kerr cited no specific outlets, but it’s clear that many Americans accept what they’re hearing even when buttressed by lies easily disproved. The number of conspiracy theories, some of which are preposterous if not dangerous, seems to have skyrocketed.
“This the price we’re playing,” Kerr said. “People are having a hard time deciphering what’s true and what’s not. But if you’re going to turn on the TV and believe everything you (hear), then it’s going to turn you angry. You’ve got to do your homework.”
It was “great news,” Kerr said, that Chauvin was convicted on all three counts given America’s sociopolitical climate.
“But when something happens on tape that’s so horrifying that it was so clear-cut, nobody could come to any other conclusion besides he was guilty,” he said “It’s a terrible, terrible thing to happen. I feel for his family, for George Floyd’s family and friends. It’s just awful.
“But at least we’re getting accountability.”
Most American sports franchises issued statements supporting what seemed to be an obvious verdict, but there was backlash within some fan bases. Notably, some of the social media reaction to the Utah Jazz statement was racist and inhumane.
Some fans have even vowed to abandon the NBA for being too political.
“I’m really proud of our players and so many athletes in the sports world who spoke out and were outraged and let those thoughts be known,” Kerr said. “That matters. People’s voices and actions matter.
“And we all know that this is going to be a lifetime of work to try to bring justice and bring more peace and more tolerance to our society.”