DALLAS — Coach Steve Kerr, one of the NBA’s leading voices on social issues, gave another emotional plea for gun control after 14 children and one teacher shot and killed Tuesday at a Texas elementary school just hours before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals.
Kerr said he was “fed up” after the latest mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, about 350 miles south of Dallas. And the Warriors coach took aim at politicians who refuse to pass a bipartisan law that would make background checks mandatory for every gun sale.
“They won’t vote on it because they want to hold onto their own power,” Kerr said. “It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”
The devastating news hits close to home for Kerr, who lost his own father to gun violence. Malcolm Kerr, a university professor and president of the American University of Beirut, was fatally shot outside his office in Lebanon Jan. 18, 1984, when Steve was 18.
Here’s the full transcript of Kerr’s pre-game availability:
“I’m not going to talk about basketball. Nothing’s happened with our team in the last six hours. We’re going to 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. 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.
“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 so tired. Excuse me. I’m sorry. I’m tired of the moments of silence. Enough.
“There’s 50 Senators right now who refuse to vote on HR8, 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.
“I ask you, Mitch McConnell, all of you Senators who refuse to do anything about the violence, school shootings, 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. That’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, 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, let’s have a moment of silence. Go Dubs. C’mon, Mavs, let’s go. That’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to go play a basketball game.
“Fifty Senators in Washington are going to hold us hostage. Do you realize that 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want background checks, 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 onto their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”
Madeline Kenney Bay Area News Group (TNS)