By Dorothy J. Gentry
Coaches for the Dallas Mavericks, Dallas Wings and Golden State Warriors – whose teams were all in action Tuesday night – spoke on the Uvalde, Texas school shooting Tuesday afternoon that killed 21 people, including 18 children.
“Before we start discussing basketball, tonight’s game, I’d like to say that our hearts go out to the victims and family of the horrific events in Uvalde, Texas. We send our condolences to our fellow Texans, and we’ll keep them in our hearts,” said Mavs Head Coach Jason Kidd whose team was playing the Warriors in Game 4 of the NBA’s Western Conference Finals at American Airlines Center.
“We truly will play with heavy hearts tonight for the community, for the school of Robb Elementary School, he continued. “What’s going on is a little bit more important than basketball
“You know, as coaches or fathers, we have kids. People in this room have kids. Elementary school… You just think about what could take place with any of your family or friends at a school.
“But the news of what’s happening, not just here in Texas but throughout our country, is sad.”
Before her team took on the Connecticut Sun on the road, Dallas Wings Head Coach Vickie Johnson said:
“I know we are all here for basketball and this game tonight, but my thoughts and prayers go out to the families outside of San Antonio. The school shooting is a horrible thing, and our prayers go out to them.”
The most emotional comments and reaction came from Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr who banged his fist on the table in his pre-game press conference several times and challenged mostly Republicans in Washington to make changes. His entire statements are below:
**“I’m not going to talk about basketball. Since we left (basketball) 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.”
Kerr’s dad, Malcolm Kerr, was shot and killed by members of the Shia Lebanese militia called Islamic Jihad on the morning of January 18, 1984 at the age of 52 while he was serving as president of the American University of Beirut. Steve Kerr was 18 years old and a college freshman.
** At the time of his comments at 6 p.m., only 14 kids were announced as dead.