Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr is pointing a finger at Donald Trump after a claim of racism on the basketball court.
Kerr spoke out after guard Jeremy Lin revealed that he was the target of a racially charged taunt during a basketball game. Lin, a longtime veteran now playing for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League, claimed that he was called “coronavirus” during a game, but declined to say exactly when it happened or who made the taunt.
Kerr said he believes that the former president’s racially charged rhetoric is partially to blame for the incident.
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Kerr Says Hatred ‘Spawned’ by Trump
Lin opened up Facebook about the discrimination he has seen both on and off the court. Responding to a surge in hate crimes against Asians and Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lin shared that he has been a target himself.
Kerr responded to the comments by blaming Trump for fostering an atmosphere of hostility.
“It’s just so ridiculous and obviously spawned by many people, including our former president [Donald Trump], as it relates to the coronavirus originating in China,” Kerr said, via CBS Sports. “It’s just shocking. I don’t know — I can’t wrap my head around any of it, but I can’t wrap my head around racism in general.”
The Warriors coach has not shied away from attacking the now-former president in the past, often speaking out against what he saw as divisive statements and actions. Trump has taken aim at Kerr as well, accusing both him and San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich of “pandering” to China after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted a message supporting protesters in Hong Kong.
As USA Today noted, Trump mocked Kerr for his response to a question about China.
“I watched this guy Steve Kerr. He was like a little boy who was so scared to be answering the question,” Trump told reporters at the time. “He couldn’t answer the question. He was shaking like, ‘Oh, I don’t know.’ He didn’t know how to answer the question. Yet, he’ll talk about the United States very badly.”
Others Blame Trump for Fostering Racial Hostilities
Kerr is not the only one who has laid some blame on Trump for the rise in racial tensions. Lin spoke out last March, saying that Trump’s use of the term “Chinese virus” in reference to the coronavirus was “empowering” racism.
Then playing for the Beijing Ducks of the Chinese Basketball Association, Lin called out Trump on Twitter.
“I wish you would powerfully support the vulnerable people that will suffer due to our mismanagement of this virus, including those that will be affected by the racism you’re empowering,” Lin tweeted.
In January, President Joe Biden also issued an executive order that condemned attacks against Asian Americans and criticized Trump without directly naming him. As USA Today reported, Biden’s order criticized federal officials who referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus” or “Kung flu,” both terms that Trump had used publicly.