Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr issued a frustrated and emotional speech about Tuesday’s mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, in which 19 children and two teachers were killed at an elementary school, ahead of the team’s scheduled game against the Dallas Mavericks during the NBA’s West finals playoff series.
Kerr refused to take questions during a media conference with reporters, instead drawing attention to the lack of legislative action from Washington to address the prevalent gun violence plaguing the country. According to CNBC, the Texas school shooting is the 212th mass shooting this year.
“I’m not gonna talk about basketball — nothing’s happened with our team in the last 6 hours,” Kerr began. “We’re gonna start the same way tonight. Any basketball questions don’t matter.”
He referenced the white supremacist Buffalo shooting, which occurred May 14 and claimed the lives of 10 people, many of whom were elderly and Black, as well as a Southern California shooting that took place two days later at a Taiwanese church, where a gunman killed one community member and wounded five others.
“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 tired of the moments of silence — enough,” he said, visibly shaken and distraught.
Kerr then brought up the importance of legislative action, referencing HR8, a bipartisan universal background check act passed by the House of Representatives in 2019. It has since stalled in the Senate.
“There’s a reason [the Senators] won’t vote on it — to hold onto power,” he said. “So I ask you — Mitch McConnell, I ask all of you, who refused 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.”
Kerr discouraged getting “numb” to such violence and offering mere moments of silence instead of taking action. “I’m fed up, I’ve had enough. We’re gonna 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, 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, moment of silence. Go Dubs. Come on, Mavs, let’s go,'” he said, referencing tonight’s game.
He added that support for universal background checks is at 90% across the United States, regardless of political party affiliation, a statistic that has been fact-checked. The US, as is often reported, has an astronomical rate of mass shootings as compared to any other country. According to the New York Times, “The only variable that can explain the high rate of mass shootings in America is its astronomical number of guns.”
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even vote on it despite what we, the American people, want. They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic — I’ve had enough,” he concluded before storming off of the stage.
Watch his speech below:
Kerr’s comments resonated with at least one admirer — Taylor Swift: