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Warriors head coach Steve Kerr spoke out about Kyrie Irving’s social media post promoting an anti-semitic film by highlighting the impact of words.
Steve Kerr usually isn’t shy about commenting on societal issues, even ones not directly connected to the NBA. This week, he had the chance to weigh in on an issue that has sadly been at the forefront: Anti-semitism.
The Warriors coach initially declined to say much about the situation surrounding Kyrie Irving after the Nets guard shared a link to a video spouting anti-semitic messages.
“Yeah, I’m going to sit that one out,” Kerr said when first asked.
However, ESPN’s Kendra Andrews eventually coaxed a more broad statement out him by asking about the importance of the NBA standing against discriminatory language.
Steve Kerr on Kyrie Irving’s anti-semitic post: Words matter
“Words matter. Words really, really matter,” Kerr said. “And in modern society, with social media, the way things can fan across the globe exponentially and get 5 million hits immediately, every comment matters. Everything you say matters…We have to be more vigilant as a society. We can’t just be accepting comments that are so destructive and insulting to people. And it’s crucial that everybody, whether you’re a professional athlete or not, it’s crucial that everybody think before they just throw stuff out there that can be so damaging.”
In this case, it wasn’t Irving’s words directly, but the words he chose to amplify by sharing a link to a film that if full of anti-semitic tropes, including fake quotes from Adolf Hitler and the assertion that the Holocaust was a lie.
Kerr also praised the column by David Aldridge in The Athletic criticizing Irving and the Nets for their handling of the situation.
By Thursday night, the Nets had officially decided to suspend Irving, not just for his social media post but for his unwillingness to admit wrongdoing or apologize for the harm done when given numerous opportunities.