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Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr pleaded for more gun control and criticized U.S. Senators he said are holding Americans “hostage” following Tuesday’s mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas.
Kerr spoke ahead of Tuesday’s Western Conference Finals game against the Dallas Mavericks and grew quite emotional during comments that lasted for nearly three minutes:
Golden State Warriors @warriors
Steve Kerr on today’s tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC
“I’m not gonna talk about basketball. Nothing’s happened with our team in the last six hours,” he said. “We’re gonna start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter. Since we left shootaround, 14 children were killed 400 miles from here. And a teacher. And 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. And now we have children murdered at school. When are we gonna 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 so tired of the, I’m sorry, 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. And there’s a reason they won’t vote on it. To hold on to power. So I ask you, Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence and school shootings and 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. It’s what we do every week. So I’m fed up. I’ve had enough. 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 or mother or father or sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today? 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. Yeah, go Dubs. C’mon Mavs, let’s go.’ That’s what we’re gonna do. We’re gonna go play a basketball game. And 50 senators in Washington are gonna hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want universal background checks? Ninety percent of us! We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote despite what we the American people want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold on to their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”
Jennifer Henderson, Jamiel Lynch and Eric Levenson of CNN reported that Sgt. Erick Estrada of the Texas Department of Public Safety said 18 students and one teacher were killed. Estrada also confirmed that the 18-year-old gunman was dead.
Kerr also referenced a shooting in a predominantly Black neighborhood of Buffalo, New York, that happened earlier this month. CNN reported the gunman killed 10 people and injured three more at a Tops Friendly Markets store.
Buffalo Police Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia said it was a racist hate crime.
One person died and five were wounded during a shooting at a church in Laguna Woods, California, earlier this month as well, per Joe Sutton of CNN.
Kerr was not the only high-profile figure in the NBA who called for change after yet another mass shooting in the United States. Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who has a personal connection to education after he helped start the I PROMISE School in Akron, Ohio, also said enough is enough.
LeBron James @KingJames
My thoughts and prayers goes out to the families of love ones loss & injured at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX! Like when is enough enough man!!! These are kids and we keep putting them in harms way at school. Like seriously “AT SCHOOL” where it’s suppose to be the safest!
Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd told reporters, “As coaches, as fathers, we have kids, people in this room have kids. Elementary school, you can just think about what could take place with your family or friends at a school. … The news of what is happening, not just here in Texas, but throughout our country is sad.”
Kerr has long been a public advocate for stronger gun control measures. His father, Malcolm Kerr, was assassinated by gunmen when the Warriors head coach was in college.