Donald Trump renewed his vow to turn off any sporting event when he sees a player protest by kneeling during the National Anthem, a trend started by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick years ago. Today, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr responded to that pledge.
Last night, a group of San Francisco Giants players and coaches, including manager Gabe Kapler, took a knee during the anthem ahead of an exhibition game. It was reportedly the first demonstration in baseball since 2017. Early this morning, the move drew the ire of the president.
“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” he tweeted around 6:30 a.m.
Kerr is a longtime, outspoken critic of Trump. In response to the president’s tweet, he posted a very sarcastic gif from the classic film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. It is pretty clear that he isn’t worried about Donald Trump watching sports as they start to come back this month.
— Steve Kerr (@SteveKerr) July 21, 2020
We’re just days away from the MLB season beginning. The NBA restart comes soon thereafter, with the short end to the regular season starting on July 30, though Steve Kerr’s Warriors will not be present. You can expect plenty of demonstrations in both, in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others at the hand of police.
The MLB is backing its players and coaches who choose to demonstrate. The league’s official Twitter account made that clear today, responding to multiple complaints from fans.
“It has never been about the military or the flag. The players and coaches are using their platforms to peacefully protest,” @MLB responded to one fan who accused players of disrespecting the military. “Supporting human rights is not political,” it replied to another complaint about politicizing the game.