Politics

Trump Criticizes Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich Over Reluctance to Speak out on China

President Donald Trump slammed NBA coaches Steve Kerr and Gregg Popovich for their dodging of questions about China amid the escalating spat between the communist-run country and the U.S. professional basketball league.

“I watch this guy Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy, he was so scared to be answering the question, he couldnt answer the question, he was shaking, I dont know, he didnt know how to answer the question, and yet hell talk about the United States very badly.”

“I watched [Gregg] Popovich, sort of the same thing, but he didnt look quite as scared. They talk bad about the United States, but when it [sic] talks about China, they dont want to say anything bad.”

“I thought it was very sad, actually,” Trump added. “The NBA … knows what theyre doing. But I watched the way Kerr, Popovich, and some of the others were pandering to China and yet to our own country they dont, its like they dont respect it. I said what a difference.'”

He was speaking to reporters at the White House on Oct. 9.

After Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey expressed support for protesters in China-held Hong Kong earlier this month, Chinese companies suspended ties with the NBA.

Security personnel are seen at the venue that was scheduled to hold fan events ahead of an NBA China game between Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, at the Oriental Sports Center in Shanghai, China on Oct. 9, 2019. (Aly Song/Reuters)

The league has increasingly focused on China and has become popular there.

Asked if he had any thoughts about the situation on Monday, Kerr, the coach of the Golden State Warriors said: “Actually, I dont.”

“Its a really, really bizarre international story and a lot of us dont know what to make of it. Its something Im reading about, just like everybody is, but Im not going to comment,” Kerr told reporters.

Pressed on the issue, Kerr, who has repeatedly criticized Trump in the past few years, added: “What Ive found is that its easy to speak on issues that Im passionate about, that I feel like Im well-versed on. Ive found that it makes most sense to stick to topics that fall into that category so I try to keep my comments to those things.”

“Im trying to learn. My brother-in-laws actually a Chinese history professor. I emailed him today to ask him what I should be learning about all this,” he said.

Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, in a file photograph. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A number of others in the NBA have declined to stand up for Hong Kongers, including Rockets coach Mike DAnonti and Warriors star Stephen Curry. Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers also declined to weigh in directly, but said the situation shows that “We dont get killed for saying in what we believe in, what we get is disagreed [with].”

“Thats what this country is about, freedom of speech, and we should always have freedom of speech. But I did tell [players] this, freedom of speech does not mean freedom of consequences,” he added. “Think about it before you say it because there could be consequences.”

Popovich, the coach of the San Antonio Spurs, speakinRead More – Source

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