Steve Kerr, the head coach of the Golden State Warriors, responded to criticism from President Trump during a press conference Thursday by telling reporters that when he travels to China he doesn't ask about human rights abuses committed by the Chinese government. Kerr also said he had no opinion about the ongoing crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
President Trump mocked Kerr during a bill signing ceremony Wednesday, saying he and the NBA were "pandering to China" after Chinese state TV decided not to air two exhibition games that were scheduled to take place in that country after Houston Rockets manager Daryl Morey voiced support for anti-government protesters in Hong Kong in a now-deleted tweet.
"It has not come up in terms of people asking me about it or discussing it. No," Kerr said after a reporter asked if he had spoken about Chinese human rights abuses while in China. "Nor has our record of human rights abuses come up either, things our country needs to reolve haven't come up either... None of us are perfect and we all have different issues we need to get to. Saying that is my right, it doesn't mean I hate my country it means I want to address things. People in China didn't ask me about, you know, people owning AR-15s and mowing each other down in a mall. I wasn't asked that question."
"I watch this guy Steve Kerr," Trump said Wednesday. "And he was like a little boy, he was so scared to be even answering the question... He couldn't answer the question. He was shaking, 'Oh, I don't know, I don't know.' He didn't know how to answer the question. And yet he'll talk about the United States very badly."
"The world is a complex place and there's more gray than black and white," Kerr said in response.
"I watch the way that Kerr, Popovich, and some of the others were pandering to China and yet to our own country, they don't - it's like they don't respect it," Trump said Wednesday.
Kerr spent almost his entire Thursday press conference discussing the issue, watch in full below via KNBR:
KNBR: Steve Kerr's first media availability following President Trump's criticism (full press conference) The National Basketball League finds itself in the midst of a geopolitical debate after Rockets General Manger tweeted in support of Hong Kong.
When asked about China, Steve Kerr declined to comment on the situation. That prompted President Donald Trump to criticize Kerr for not speaking out against China.
On Thursday, October 10 before his Golden State Warriors played the Minnesota Timberwolves Kerr met with media for the first time following Trump's comments.