Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr made an impassioned plea to take stronger action against gun violence in the United States after 19 children and two adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Kerr refused to speak about basketball ahead of Game 4 of the Warriors’ series against the Dallas Mavericks, instead raising his voice as he railed against gun violence in the wake of Tuesday’s shooting.
“In the last 10 days, we’ve had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we’ve had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California, now we have children murdered at school,” Kerr told reporters at the start of the press conference.
“When are we going to do something? I’m tired. 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.
“There’s 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R. 8, which is a background check rule that the House passed a couple years ago. It’s been sitting there for two years. There’s a reason they won’t vote on it: to hold onto power.”
Last year, the House passed H.R. 8 to expand background checks on all commercial gun sales – the first congressional move on significant gun control since the Democrats won the White House.
Currently, background checks are not required for gun sales and transfers by unlicensed and private sellers.
“I’m fed up. I’ve had enough,” continued Kerr, whose father was serving as the president of the American University of Beirut when he was assassinated by gunmen in 1984.
“We’re going to play the game tonight. But 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?”
Tuesday’s shooting by a lone, 18-year-old gunman, who was killed by law enforcement, was the second mass shooting in the US in less than two weeks after a different 18-year-old gunman trafficking in White supremacist theories killed 10 Black Americans in Buffalo.
Ahead of Tuesday’s game in Dallas, which was preceded by a moment of silence, Warriors guard Damion Lee joined Kerr in calling for gun reform.
“It’s just sad,” Lee told reporters. “Obviously, everyone saw Steve’s pregame presser. Those are my exact same sentiments. It’s sad the world that we live in. We need to reform that.
“Guns shouldn’t be as easily accessible. Like, it’s easier to get a gun than baby formula right now. That’s unbelievable in this country that we live in.”
The NBA said in a statement that it is “devastated by the horrific shooting that took place today in Uvalde, Texas,” while Mavs head coach Jason Kidd said ahead of the game that his team would play “with heavy hearts.”
“We’re going to try to play the game. We have no choice. The game is not going to be canceled. But we have to find a way to be pro, find a way to win and move forward,” said Kidd.
“But the news of what’s happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad.”
The Mavs won the game 119-109 and trail the Warriors 3-1 in the Western Conference Finals.