OAKLAND (Mercury News) – The decision seemed fairly obvious in Stephen Curry’s mind, as the Warriors’ star player has remained vocally critical over President Donald Trump regarding his policies and his rhetoric.
Hence, Curry hardly minced words on whether the Warriors would make a White House visit this year, a custom for all professional sports teams that just won a championship.
“My views haven’t changed at all. I don’t know if anybody’s changed. But that’s where I stand right now,” Curry said on Friday during the Warriors’ media day at their practice facility. “I don’t want to go. That’s my nucleus of my belief.”
Several of Curry’s teammates as well as coach Steve Kerr have become just as outspoken both about Trump and their feelings about a White House visit. Warriors forward Kevin Durant has said he will not visit, and added on Friday that “it’s going to be tough to change my mind.” So has Warriors veteran forward David West, who said, “I will let everyone know my opinion.” Warriors forward Draymond Green quipped, “I have an opinion on pretty much everything.”
But for a team that has become consistently vocal about their political leanings, the Warriors have insisted that the decision does not fall on party lines.
“We’re going to have a discussion to pretty much take the temperature of everyone. We’re going to decide what is best, whatever we think is best for us,” Green said. “It may not be the most popular thing or whatever we decide. But at the end of the day, we are the ones to decide to attend. It’s only right that we all decide together. It’s not just one person’s choice. It’ll be between all of us. We’ll come up with a decision and then go from there.”
The Warriors have been strongly expected to decline a White House invitation. And yet…
“I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. “But I think what we’re going to focus on in the near term is the process we employed to make that decision.”
The Warriors plan to have a team dinner on Friday night, one of many forums that will elicit feedback and opinions in numerous talks that Kerr estimated will take place “in the next couple of days.” While Myers said the Warriors “had a discussion with the White House,” they have not actually granted a formal invitation. Though Myers said “we understand there’s a time sensitivity to it,” Myers added “there is no deadline.”
“It’s important for everybody to express their views, not only players, but coaches, management and ownership,” Kerr said. “They haven’t had that opportunity. It’s not anything we’ve given a ton of thought to.”
Curry provided plenty of thoughts, though, on why he will voice his objections about visiting the White House.
“Basically the things he said and the things he hasn’t said at the right times, we won’t stand for it,” Curry said. “By acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what’s accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”
Curry then brought up former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem as a way to protest police brutality toward minorities. Curry also mentioned Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, who said he experienced racial profiling in Las Vegas following the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight after having a gun drawn on him.
“We’re trying to do what we can using our platform and using our opportunities to shed light on that,” Curry said. “That’s where I stand on it. I don’t think us not going to White House will miraculously make everything better. But that’s my opportunity to voice that.”
Meanwhile, the Warriors are trying to meld those voices into a collaborative decision after meeting with their players, Kerr, Myers and co-owner Joe Lacob. Myers said they will have “real, honest dialogue about it.”
“It’s not as clear. Some people think it is. Some people think it isn’t,” Myers said. “So in our opinion and my opinion, it deserves a proper forum. It deserves the right amount of thought. When we make the decision we at least put the right amount of time into it. That’s the next goal for us.”
Before the Warriors reach that goal, they tried invoking humor about the incident.
Golden State center Zaza Pachulia revealed he visited the Republic of Georgia’s White House when he returned to his native country this offseason.
“I saw the President; it was great,” Pachulia said, grinning. “So no matter what happens, I did it.”
Though Warriors forward Andre Iguodala has represented another outspoken critic of Trump, he made light of the hubbub surrounding the topic.
“North Korea is on our ass I heard,” Iguodala said. “So we got bigger problems than guys that shoot the ball in the hoop going to the White House.”
Yet, the Warriors are mindful of the problems that will emerge out of this decision. Decline a visit as expected, and the Warriors will face criticism for not respecting the office of the presidency. Accept a visit, and the Warriors will face criticism for not standing up to their beliefs. Either way, Iguodala conceded that “with our success, things like that can distract us from the actual game.”
“We want to respect the opportunity that we have to represent ourselves and our own beliefs and our organization,” Curry said. “We’re obviously in this position because we won a championship. We did something special together. For us to just really take the time and understand the magnitude of this decision, the right thing to do and the right way to go about it, it’s important.”