Speaking to the media after the Warriors' morning shootaround Thursday, Kerr said the NFL is using the anthem as fake patriotism. "They're just playing to their fan base. They're basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people," Kerr said. "I'm proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech, about peacefully protesting."
Kerr also said the NBA understands players were kneeling to protest police brutality and to protest racial inequality. "They weren't disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base," he said. "That created this hysteria ... It's kind of what's wrong with our country right now. People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties and make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is."
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Kerr added that the flag represents diversity, peaceful protest and the right to free speech. "It's really ironic what the NFL is doing," he said.
The NBA does have a longstanding rule that requires its players to stand for the national anthem, but the league has also been on the forefront of addressing social issues. Kerr and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich have been outspoken on issues and politics.
Just Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks released a statement which called upon the Milwaukee Police Department to make change in the wake of player Sterling Brown's arrest and tasing incident in January. The statement read, in part, "unfortunately, this isn't an isolated case. It shouldn't require an incident involving a professional athlete to draw attention to the fact that vulnerable people in our communities have experienced similar, and even worse, treatment."
Video released of NBA player getting tased by Milwaukee police
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales apologized after body-camera footage was released and added some officers had been disciplined.
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