Steve Kerr wants to have it both ways

Steve Kerr is the coach of the Golden State Warriors, the NBA championship team that doesn’t want to visit the White House because it objects to President Trump, and thus had its invitation rescinded. Kerr has produced a disingenuous article called “Mr. President: You Represent All of Us. Don’t Divide Us. Bring Us Together.”

Like his star guard Stephen Curry, Kerr wants to have it both ways. When the Warriors are in the process of rejecting President Trump’s invitation to the White House, Trump is a horrible man, too odious to visit even pursuant to the long tradition of championship sports teams trekking to the White House. When Trump responds to this obvious disrespect by pulling the invitation, suddenly he is “Mr. President,” who “represents all of us.”

But Kerr’s piece is worse than Curry’s tweet. He accuses Trump of “divid[ing] us” even as he admits that his team would have taken the unprecedented step of refusing to visit the White House except, perhaps, to lecture Trump about issues that concern Kerr and his players.

Trump invited the Warriors even though it’s well known that Curry, Kerr, and others on the team are harsh critics of him and his presidency. Kerr, Mr. Bring Us Together, indulged in a well-publicized anti-Trump rant right after the election.

Trump honored the White House visit tradition anyway. Curry and Kerr rejected or, as Kerr admits, would have rejected the invitation. They are the ones who behaved divisively.

What is Kerr’s objection to Trump? He claims it’s the president’s name-calling. He cites Trump’s reference to NFL players who disrespect the National Anthem, and therefore the country, as “sons of bitches.” But Kerr and his team had already decided not to visit the White House (or to do only only for the purpose of delivering a lecture) before Trump made this remark.

It’s true, of course, that Trump calls people names — a practice I find unpresidential and offputting. But “Little Marco” and “Lying Ted” have visited the White House. Even “Crooked Hillary” honored tradition and attended Trump’s swearing in. If the targets of Trump’s name-calling can show up out of respect for the presidency, why can’t athletes, who haven’t been called anything by Trump, do so?

The reality is that Kerr and his players object to more than Trump’s name-calling. Kerr has said that it’s Trump’s actions, not just his words, that upset him. For example, he objects to the limited, temporary travel ban which, in typical overwrought anti-Trump fashion, he deems “shocking” and “a horrible idea.”

The reality is that Kerr and key members of his team have chosen to become part of the anti-Trump resistance. That’s their right, of course. But it’s gutless of them not to admit this and to hide, instead, behind “bring us together” mush.

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