Press conferences by professional coaches are a platform that are sometimes used for the wrong topics. Liverpool football manager Jurgen Klopp pointed this out a while ago when asked for his opinion on the coronavirus. “People like me, without the necessary knowledge, should not say anything,” replied Jürgen Klopp, “my opinion is really unimportant.” Rather, real experts should comment on such a topic, virologists, epidemiologists.
However, the situation is different when it comes to social or political issues, because professional trainers are always a part of society, and a very prominent one at that. Some viewers and fans may be guided by their political attitudes, others may rub them off. They are particularly credible when political interest is paired with personal experience, “expertise” if you will. Just like Steve Kerr.
Immediately after the school shooting in Uvalde, the basketball coach of the NBA club Golden State Warriors appealed in a two-and-a-half-minute, highly emotional speech to 50 US senators to finally give up their blockade and make access to weapons in the US more difficult. “When are we going to do something about it?” Kerr called into the microphone, “I’m tired of the minutes of silence, stop it!” His despair and dismay after the cruel death of children and teachers was reflected in his face every second.
Because Steve Kerr himself lost his father to a crime. His father, Malcolm Kerr, the rector of the American University of Beirut, was shot dead in Lebanon in 1984 by two gunmen from the Islamic Jihad terrorist group. Steve Kerr was 18 at the time. Years later, after another of the far too many US school shootings, he said, “I know how it feels.”
That’s what makes his two-and-a-half-minute press conference so powerful: the credible dismay of the former champion coach and champion player from the Chicago Bulls and San Antonio Spurs, who has previously been politically involved, for example against ex-President Donald Trump. That’s exactly why the video went viral on social networks after the insane act, millions of people saw his desperate appeal. His message, Steve Kerr can be sure, was heard.
Something has to change now.