NBA coach Steve Kerr wasn’t concerned about winning or losing ahead of the Golden State Warriors game against the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night. He was focused on the tragic school shooting in Uvalde, Texas — which was 350 miles southwest of where his team was set to play in the Western Conference Finals — and the 50 U.S. senators who continuously fail to approve much-needed legislation on gun control.
In an impassioned pre-game press conference, an emotional Kerr insisted “basketball questions don’t matter” before listing recent mass shootings in the country. He then pounded on the table in front of him, yelling, “When are we going to do something?”
“I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there... I'm tired of the moments of silence. Enough,” Kerr said, his lip quivering, hours after a shooter opened fire at Robb Elementary School, killing 19 children and two adults.
Eight-time NBA champion Kerr has been an outspoken advocate of H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021, a law he noted has been passed by the House of Representatives twice but faced Republican opposition in the U.S. Senate for two years. Kerr’s own father, Malcom Kerr, was assassinated by terrorists in Beirut in 1984 when he was serving as president of the American University of Beirut.
“There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power,” Kerr said. "So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you Senators who refuse to do anything about the violence, school shootings, supermarket shootings, I ask you: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children and our elderly and our churchgoers? Because that's what it looks like.”
Kerr, who is the father of three children with his wife Margot, added that he’s “fed up” with the process of sending out thoughts and prayers and moving on. He explained that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want firearms background checks, but that our country is “being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want.”
“I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?” Kerr asked. "We can't get numb to this. We can't sit here and just read about it and go, well, let's have a moment of silence.”
Kerr’s plea has made the rounds on social media, with many championing his words and mission. The Warriors lost to the Mavericks on Tuesday, but Kerr surely won in the eyes of the many Americans who will continue to fight for gun reform.