With everything that happened earlier in the day in Washington D.C., it certainly would have been understandable if the Warriors' full concentration wasn't on the task at hand on Wednesday night. But after experiencing one of the darker days in United States history, they still had to go out and do their jobs.
The Warriors put forth a valiant effort against the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night, taking one of the title-favorites down to the wire before ultimately losing 108-101 at Chase Center. Prior to the game, both teams knelt during the national anthem and held a moment of silence. After the final buzzer sounded, Warriors coach Steve Kerr elaborated as to why.
"It was so disheartening," Kerr said during his postgame availability. "I think everybody came into the arena this evening just sort of dazed. There was so much going on. The great news this morning out of Georgia, for those of us who feel like change is needed in this country, those two victories in the Senate races were amazing news. And then all of a sudden to see the Capitol stormed without repercussion, at the same time as the officers in the Jacob Blake shooting were not charged, it's such a blatant contrast in how people are treated in this country based on the color of their skin.
"Thousands of white people can storm the Capitol and not face any sort of obstruction from police, but heaven forbid a 12-year-old Black boy carry a toy gun in a park, or a 15-year-old Black boy walk home from a store with a bag of Skittles, or a young Black male run through a neighborhood on a jog -- heaven forbid any of those things happen, but it's OK for thousands of traitors, basically, storming the Capitol, and we're not going to put up any resistance, we're just going to allow it. So, a blatant, blatant display of the inequity in our country, and I think given that the vast majority of the players in our league are African American, it can only affect every single one of them deeply. It affects all of us deeply, but especially if you're an African American and you've had to deal with this type of injustice in your entire life and your families' lives.
"So, today was a very emotional day, and our players felt it, but I was very proud of the way they handled themselves. Making their presence felt and then coming out and competing and playing a basketball game. Not an easy day."
While Kerr had good reason to be proud of his team, which put forth its best defensive performance of the season thus far, it was abundantly clear that his players were deeply affected by Wednesday's events. Andrew Wiggins spoke to the disparity in racial equality during his postgame availability, while Draymond Green was passionate and emphatic in expressing his frustration with the lack of change.
"It weighs heavy on us," Kent Bazemore explained. "We have a job to go out and play basketball, and at the end of the day, it's just a game. It's a game, we're going out and doing what we love. But we have feelings, too. As human beings, with the platform that we have, we care about everyone that looks up to us, and it's just crazy that we have to keep continuing to go through these kinds of things in order to make change."
What began as an entirely unprecedented day for the Warriors ended with a bit of normalcy. Yes, with a basketball game, but also with players and coaches alike being reminded of the outrages that never seem to end, and the change that never seems to come.