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Kerr blasts 'disconnect' of certain politicians invoking MLK

NBC Sports
Warriors' Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr walked off the practice floor late Tuesday afternoon thinking about many things, not the least of which was the San Antonio Spurs, who oppose the Warriors on Wednesday night at Chase Center.

But, of course, real life intrudes.

One day after America celebrated the birthday of the late Rev. Martin Luther King -- and one day before a new president is sworn in -- the coach was asked in a video conference with reporters what he would say to the firebrand civil rights figure were he still alive.

“I might ask him if he found the various tweets that were posted from people who have opposed the John Lewis Voting Rights Act,” Kerr said. “I would ask him if he found those ironic. I think that's something that stood out to me yesterday.”

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On the national holiday of his birth, thousands of people posted quotes attributed to Dr. King. And some of those people seem to appreciate him much more in death than they did when he was alive. They offer praise his mission of equality while also -- then and now -- fighting to deny the pathways to that end.

Perhaps the most egregious example of overt hypocrisy came from former Georgia Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who tweeted that “Georgians are particularly inspired by [King’s] legacy as we pause to remember his powerful words, honor his leadership and impact, and reaffirm our commitment to service.”


This is the same woman who routinely denounced the Black Lives Matter movement and relentlessly attacked the vision of the Black man, Rev. Raphael Warnock, who defeated her in the senate race two weeks ago.

Warnock also happens to be the senior pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist Church -- the same church at which Dr. King once stood in the pulpit. He wants the same thing today that Dr. King sought 60 years ago.

“Obviously, Martin Luther King is celebrated in this country, rightfully so,” Kerr said. “But his ideals must be celebrated. That’s the most important thing. And a lot of people who are glorifying him now have not been holding up his ideals and fighting for what he fought for. That’s a disconnect.

“We can't just use his name to put on a sign or a tweet and glorify our country or talk about these ideals, talk about social justice, without acting upon those things. How I see things now, the Black Lives Matter movement is just an extension of what the Civil Rights movement in the 60s was all about. It's the same issues. It's voting rights. It’s healthcare. It's poverty. It’s institutional racism."

“We’re still fighting for the same things,” Kerr continued. “I do think we've made a lot of lot of great strides since then. But we need to make more.”

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Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, a Republican that does not acknowledge systemic racism, tweeted a tribute to Dr. King on Monday. So did Kayleigh McEnany, the frequently dishonest press secretary for outgoing President Donald Trump.

As of Wednesday, Trump will vacate the office, replaced by President-elect Joe Biden, who is at the top of a ticket that includes former California Sen. Kamala Harris, who becomes the first Black woman and first South Asian woman to serve as Vice President.

“I am excited about tomorrow and hopefully getting a more unified front from our government,” Kerr said. “And hopefully we get some momentum and try to shift the course of our country’s ...  I was going to say trajectory. I'm not sure it's been a trajectory. Hopefully, we can put it on a trajectory.”