Kings coach Dave Joerger and Warriors coach Steve Kerr were asked during their pregame media sessions why they didn’t attend the noon rally at Cesar Chavez Plaza protesting the shooting death of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, and it’s fair to say, neither appreciated the question.
Joerger’s reply was typical. He wastes few words when pressed on a matter he doesn’t care for.
“I’m happy to answer any question you have about tonight’s game,” he replied.
Kerr, who along with several of the Warriors has been outspoken on the shooting in south Sacramento and the issue of gun violence in general, was clearly miffed, perhaps more by the accusatory tone than the question posed by out-of-town reporter Tyler Tynes of SB Nation.
“You don’t think there’s a contradiction there when you talk a lot about race or an issue like that,” Tynes began, “but then there’s a march and somebody gets killed and you don’t actually show up?”
“You’re serious?” Kerr replied, incredulously, before elaborating in a calm voice. “It’s up to each individual, if he is going to pick his spots to make his contribution to society. I’m very confident and comfortable in my own skin and our players’ lives, what they do for our communities, the way they speak out, the way I speak out. I feel very, very comfortable in what we’ve tried to do. And I’m also very, very serious about my job. I’m coaching the Warriors tonight and we’re kind of busy today.
“We support the protests,” he continued, “but we have a job to do. So we’re here to play a game tonight.”
Though several players on both teams were contacted by organizer Matt Barnes and invited to attend the rally, only Garrett Temple made an appearance. Vince Carter and Kevin Durant, among others, cited conflicts with game-day preparation.
Additionally, Carter and Temple participated in a Kings-sponsored town hall for youth Friday night in south Sacramento. Kerr, whose father was shot and killed outside his office at the American University of Beirut in 1986, recently attended a town hall for high school students that addressed gun violence and took part in the March for Our Lives last weekend in the Bay Area.