Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr reportedly said he has mixed feelings about some of the "nationalistic" military displays at sporting events, cautioning the widespread practice runs the risk of making fans feel like they're "being patronized."
Kerr, 53, told NBC Sports he found the displays "really inspiring" for the most part. But the outspoken coach said he sometimes feels conflicted watching the pageantry.
“Sometimes, it’s really inspiring,” he said. “You see a mother and daughter or a father and son reconnected after a tour of duty, and everybody gets emotional. And sometimes it feels like we’re being patronized. Like this is being used. We’re just playing a sport here, and it feels sort of nationalistic, if that makes sense. So we are kind of wandering down a dicey path on this front.”
Kerr told NBC Sports he believed the 9/11 attacks “spurred a strong military dynamic” that primarily manifested at sporting events.
The coach said he understands the risks of voicing his opinion about such a sensitive subject.
“First, you have to feel comfortable with what you’re talking about and what you’re discussing. So if you’re not comfortable with speaking about social issues, then I don’t blame anybody for not doing so,” Kerr said. "But there’s also a sense, when you’re in a job like this, that you’re working for people. You’re working for a league. You’re working for an owner. You’re working for an organization. And almost everything you say is going to be looked at two different ways. You start to worry about offending people. You start to worry about ‘Am I doing something wrong?’ ‘Am I going to get fired?’ ‘Am I going down the wrong path?’ ‘And I really like this job and I like coaching basketball and I just want to coach. So you sort of leave that alone. I’ve got no problem with that.”
Kerr has been a vociferous opponent of President Trump, criticizing the administration’s travel ban and accusing the commander-in-chief of having “routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words.”