Steve Kerr, a voice that carries in the face of America’s ills

The tone is imploring and vindictive at the same time. “When are we going to do something? » Misty eyes, clenched jaw and tight throat, Steve Kerr repeatedly bangs his fist on the table. And warns: “I’m not going to talk about basketball. All basketball matters don’t matter tonight. » Steve Kerr is however a basketball coach and his team, the San Francisco Golden State Warriors, one of the flagship franchises of the NBA, the North American league, was preparing, Tuesday, May 24, to face the Dallas Mavericks in the fourth game of the conference finals in the Texas city. But the news of the day forced the technician to move away from the field.

At least nineteen children, between the ages of 7 and 10, as well as two adults, were killed on Tuesday in the Texas town of Uvalde. Yet another massacre perpetrated in an elementary school by a barely legal teenager. “Since we left the training session, fourteen children have been killed 600 kilometers from here, and a teacher [le bilan a depuis augmenté]reacted hot Steve Kerr. In the past ten days, black seniors have been killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, Asian worshipers have been killed in Southern California, and now children have been killed at school…”

The marked features, the American coach confessed his ” tired of [se] present in front of [la presse] to present [ses] condolences to the bereaved families”. Before lashing out at US senators refusing to legislate despite the litany of shootings: “90% of Americans, regardless of their political orientation, want [une régulation des armes]. We are being held hostage by fifty senators in Washington who refuse to put this measure to a vote. »

Read our editorial: Shooting in Texas: the United States is killing each other, the Republican Party is looking elsewhere

Looping on television channels and social networks, this vibrant plea for the regulation of firearms resonates in the United States, once again bruised by a shooting in a school. Because Steve Kerr has the voice that carries. At 56, the man who won three NBA titles as a player with Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls and two with the San Antonio Spurs, as well as three titles as a Warriors coach, is used to speaking out on social issues. .

His father died in an attack in Lebanon

He is all the more sensitive to the issue of shootings, as his father, president of the American University of Beirut, was assassinated by Islamist terrorists in Lebanon in 1984. Appointed in December 2021 coach of Team USA, the team American men’s basketball player, Steve Kerr succeeded Gregg Popovich, coach of the Spurs (and Frenchman Tony Parker throughout his career). The Californian coach, player, then assistant to Gregg Popovich, not only followed in his Texan mentor’s footsteps on the court, he also, off the field, followed the latter’s example, never the last to engage in social issues.

[Popovich] uses his position to make his voice heard about the injustices, racism, police brutality and the rest of the evils that afflict American society, greeted former NBA player Ethan Thomas in March in a gallery at the Guardian. As a white man, especially in Texas, it takes a lot of courage and commands respect. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers The United States in shock of a new shooting: at least 19 children killed in a school in Texas

Steve Kerr, who did not hesitate to castigate the positions of Donald Trump, then President of the United States, formed with Gregg Popovich and other NBA coaches a “Committee on Racial Injustices and Reform” in 2020, in order to collectively reflect on societal issues and consider solutions.

“He will always fight for what is right”

“Every American, regardless of party, should be sickened by what is happening in the country right now”, insisted the Warriors coach in 2016, after the death of a black man, killed by the police as he returned to his vehicle with his arms in the air. At the time, the country was divided between pro and anti-Colin Kaepernick, after the American football player of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the anthem before a match, to protest against police violence (he did not never found a club).

Read also The Kaepernick revolution, or how Black Lives Matter gained traction in American stadiums

Since 2016, the world of basketball in the United States has been a breeding ground for these questions. While the NFL was struggling to take stock of the situation, the NBA is resolutely committed to the defense of minorities in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement (“black lives matter”), following several of its players stars (like LeBron James or Stephen Curry) and coaches, like Steve Kerr.

To whom his player Damion Lee paid tribute, in 2021: “He supports us in all areas when we try to highlight injustices and social problems, saluted the back of the Warriors. His past, and what he has been through, makes these issues close to his heart. He will always be at the forefront and he will always fight for what is right. »

In January 2021, following the assault on the Capitol by a crowd of pro-Trump convinced that the election had been stolen from them, Steve Kerr had already chosen not to talk about basketball anymore. “I started the day thinking about how to defend on Lou Williams [un joueur adverse], and suddenly it didn’t seem so important to me when I turned on the TV and saw what was happening,” reported the coach at a press conference. “It was a bizarre scene, but I saw it as a clear reminder of the importance of truth. Truth is paramount in our country and around the world, and if we allow lies to spread, there are consequences. »

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers A year after the storming of the Capitol, a look back at the day when American democracy faltered

A committed citizen beyond his influence on the game, Steve Kerr once again spoke on Tuesday following a new drama linked to the unregulated circulation of firearms in his country. No doubt he hopes that his truth will help to move the lines.


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