‘Fake Patriotism’: NBA Coach Steve Kerr Slams NFL’s Protest Ban

The NBA coach said he is proud to be part of a league that understands that players have a right to free speech. But can NBA players protest?

The NFL just banned peaceful protests during the national anthem, prompting prominent sports figures to feel compelled to give their two cents.

Steve Kerr, head coach of the NBA's Golden State Warriors, told reporters that the NFL’s “stand” against players trying to make their voice heard was both “idiotic” and “fake patriotism.”

"I think it's just typical of the NFL," Kerr said. "They're just playing off their fan base, and they're just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It's idiotic, but that's how the NFL has handled their business."

To Kerr, respecting players’ freedom to express their political views is part of what it means to be American.

“I’m proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech,” he added. “It’s about peacefully protesting. I think our leaders in the NBA understand that when an NFL player is kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They weren’t disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base by creating this hysteria.”

Unfortunately, the NBA isn’t as welcoming of protests during the national anthem as Kerr appears to believe.

According to Deadspin, the NBA requires that players stand for the national anthem. And the policy is enforced as the league sent out a reminder to teams at the beginning of the season.

Maybe Kerr didn’t get the memo?

Regardless, protests during the national anthem are now officially against the NFL’s policy. It's a decision that, perhaps, was made thanks to a great deal of pressure coming from President Donald Trump.

The president, who often criticized players like former San Francisco 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick, has told the NFL to put an end to kneeling during the national anthem.

Unfortunately, since former quarterback Kaepernick took a knee on Aug. 14, 2016, 378 African-Americans have been fatally shot by police in America. Still, the NFL won’t budge. This comes even after a poll showed that most Americans think that players taking a knee is about police violence and has nothing to do with hating the American flag.  

Perhaps now, more than ever, NFL and NBA fans should be voicing their opinions loud and clear. It seems they will only listen when their fan base expresses disappointment.

 Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

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