Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr called on lawmakers to pass stricter gun laws during his pregame news conference Tuesday in Dallas. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo
May 25 (UPI) -- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr disregarded basketball and delivered a passionate plea for government action in response to an elementary school shooting, which killed 19 children and two adults in Uvalde, Texas.
Kerr spoke about the shooting during his pregame news conference Tuesday at the American Airlines Center in Dallas. The shooting occurred just hours before Kerr met with reporters about 350 miles from the scene of the killings at Robb Elementary School.
"Any basketball questions don't matter," Kerr said before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals. "Since we left [morning] shoot-around, 14 children and a teacher were killed 400 miles from here." The number of dead was later updated.
"In the last 10 days, we've had elderly Black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, N.Y. 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 so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families out there. I'm so tired of the moments of silence. Enough."
Kerr also called on senators to vote for the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2021 (H.R.8), which the House approved 227-203 on March 11, 2021. The act, which would require background checks on all commercial gun sales, has not come up for a vote in the Senate.
Kerr's late father, former American University of Beirut president Malcolm H. Kerr, was murdered by a gunman on Jan. 18, 1984, in Beirut, Lebanon.
"There are 50 senators right now who refuse to vote on H.R.8 ... to hold onto power," Kerr said.
"I ask you, [Senate Republican leader] Mitch McConnell, and all of you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence in school shootings and supermarket shootings: Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of children, our elderly, churchgoers?
"That's what it looks like it. It's what we do every week. I'm fed up. I've had enough."
Kerr also called on listeners to think of family members, and said Americans "can't go numb" to the gun-related tragedies due to their frequency.
The Dallas Mavericks beat the Warriors 119-109 on Tuesday in Dallas. Many athletes, including LeBron James, and other sports teams and leagues in the United States also addressed the shooting with social media posts.
Warriors guard Stephen Curry shared video of Kerr's message before the game on Twitter and told fans to watch the video as much as they watch the game.
"I've got kids," Curry said at his postgame news conference. "I send them to school every day and drop them off. You feel for the parents that are going through what they are going through. I can't even imagine the pain.
"For coach to come up here and say what he said. Every word he said was powerful and meaningful. I accept the challenge to use my voice and platform to hopefully make change. ... I appreciate his leadership. He has been doing that since I've known him."
Kerr also spoke about the shooting in his postgame news conference. He said the locker room was quiet and it was hard to keep perspective. He said Warriors players were angry, but had to "accept" that they had to go out and play a game.
Kerr previously used his platform to speak out about the 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 people dead. He also spoke in 2017 about the mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a shooter killed 61 people at a music festival.