Rockets: Steve Kerr talks Trump backlash after Daryl Morey’s China tweet

Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Head coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr revisited his reaction to the criticism he received from President Donald Trump, which arose in light of Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s infamous tweet.

Exactly one year ago, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey found himself in the middle of the biggest sports scandal in recent memory, as Morey issued a plea for Hong Kong’s independence from China. The tweet led to a political firestorm among Morey’s NBA peers and the conversation made it’s way to the White House.

Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr remained fairly silent on the matter, which was a stark contrast from what he’s been known for, as it pertains to speaking out on political issues. Kerr was criticized by President Donald Trump for his silence, and Trump didn’t take it easy on the player-turned-coach, as several of his comments are referenced below.

“I watched this guy Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy who was so scared to be answering the question. He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ He didn’t know how to answer the question. Yet, he’ll talk about the United States very badly.”

Kerr joined former ESPN analyst and SportsCenter anchor Jemele Hill on Jemele Hill is Unbothered and explained how Trump’s criticism made him feel.

“It was really strange. It was very weird. It felt slimy. It was like really? We don’t have anything bigger on the agenda today? I was also kind of ashamed, because his comments came on the heels of the discussion about China, after Daryl Morey’s comments.

We’ve got a business deal where we’re making money from China, but there are civil rights abuses going on there, that we know about. How do you reconcile that? Those kinds of questions are never black and white.

This is the whole point about modern conversation. There’s so much nuance and complexity in every conversation and yet we choose to make everything good and evil, right and wrong, black and white. We try and simplify it as if it’s that simple.”

Kerr expresses reaction to Trump’s criticism after Rockets Morey’s tweet

Kerr stated that he communicated with Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey at the time and added that Morey regretted the slander that was hurled in Kerr’s direction as a result of his tweet, and Kerr added that he should have backed Morey and spoke up about the injustices that Morey vocalized.

“Daryl and I spoke at that time. He called me back then and I called him later on and we had a couple of good conversations. So I think he felt bad for unwittingly dragging me into it and I felt bad for not initially backing him up. So we had a couple of good conversations.”

The NBA lost a considerable amount of revenue from China as a result of Morey’s tweet, and the Houston Rockets were especially hindered financially, as China had become a big supporter over the years, which was further heightened when the Rockets drafted Yao Ming in 2002.

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It’s safe to say that Morey learned a valuable lesson as it pertains to vocalizing global issues, and Kerr has also benefited from having time to reflect on how he could have handled things differently, as it pertains to being supportive of those who seek to put an end to the civil rights abuses that exist, as he described it.