Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has finally spoken out about his comments on Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey’s pro-Hong Kong tweet, and says he should have backed Morey’s right to free speech.
Though Kerr is still refusing to condemn the vast human rights abuses of China, the NBA’s $4 billion business partner, he recently noted that he regrets remaining silent as the league curtailed Daryl Morey’s right to free speech.
“I handled it really poorly,” Kerr said in the segment of the interview newly released by writer Candace Buckner. “I was frankly sort of tongue-tied. I’m sitting there trying to figure out what I’m supposed to say to make sure I don’t put the league in jeopardy but also trying to find the right balance and I realize it was probably the one time over the years when I haven’t just spoken my heart, and I sort of got caught in this political hailstorm. It was very uncomfortable because it wasn’t a topic I was very comfortable with, and the circumstances were really strange.”
With the NBA addressing severed ties w/ a Chinese bkb camp, I wanted to share this from Steve Kerr
I’m working on a piece abt coaches & their role in speaking up & Kerr, usually outspoken, admitted he didn’t like his comments re: China last yr
I think this is honest reflection pic.twitter.com/6sPNVWWnVt
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) July 24, 2020
Kerr has been lambasted as a hypocrite for constantly bashing America for supposed human rights abuses even as he remains utterly silent about the NBA’s big-dollar partners in China — a country that is one of the worst abusers of human rights in the world. The 2019 incident regarding Morey is a huge shot to Kerr’s credibility as an advocate for human rights.
In October of last year, Morey took to Twitter to post a statement that should have been utterly uncontroversial for anyone interested in freedom, liberty, and human rights. He posted a simple phrase: “Fight for Freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” The tweet was meant to highlight the fight for democracy being waged by the once-free Hong Kong people who are losing freedoms daily since China took active possession of the region from the British.
Morey’s tweet kicked up a firestorm as China reacted in horror that someone would dare criticize its oppression of the people of Hong Kong. But instead of rallying to Morey’s support for freedom — not to mention his American right to free speech — the league came down on Morey like a ton of bricks, forcing him to delete the tweet and grovel in apology at China’s feet.
Despite Morey’s and the NBA’s supplication, China tempestuously cut ties with the league — but only for a time — as punishment for Morey’s support of democracy in Hong Kong.
Throughout last year’s controversy, Kerr, who is always quick to attack America, remained quiet and refused to stand up for democracy and for Morey’s right to free speech. But now, even as he continues to decline to support freedom in Hong Kong, Kerr says he regrets at least not standing up for Morey’s right to free speech.
In an interview with Washington Post, Kerr now says he should have spoken out against the attacks Morey suffered.
Showing that he is still entirely unbothered by Chinese oppression, Kerr told Buckner that he should have listened to his “gut” better.
“I’ve learned of the last four years since I’ve been… [outspoken] the questions aren’t always easy. If you follow your gut and your heart, you generally just speak your truth, and you’re going to feel good about it afterwards. That’s the one episode where I walked away shaking my head saying, ‘What the hell was that?'”
Kerr added that if he could do it all over again, he would back Morey’s right to free speech.
“Well, I would first of all, back up Daryl,” Kerr exclaimed. “I would just say Daryl has a right, as an American, to free speech. He can say anything he wants, and we should support him in that, and that’s the main message. And then if you want to get into the depths of a really complex issue (chuckles) then you can have a conversation.”
Notice that Kerr still did not speak out about China’s human rights abuses.
Meanwhile, just days ago, Kerr was out attacking any American who opposes anthem protests as “race-baiters.”
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.