On Friday, Donald Trump’s Muslim ban — an executive order restricting migration from seven Muslim-majority countries for 90 days, and suspending all refugee immigration in the country for 120 days — left people all over the world reeling, including many prominent sports figures.
Golden States Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has emerged as a prominent voice of opposition to Trump, passionately spoke out against the ban on Sunday night after the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I think [the policy] is shocking. It’s a horrible idea,” Kerr said, as reported by The Guardian. “I feel for all the people that are affected. Families are being torn apart, and I worry in the big picture what this means to the security of the world. It’s going about it completely opposite. You want to solve terror, you want to solve crime, this is not the way to do it.”
Terrorism has impacted Kerr on a personal level. His father — the former president of the American University in Beirut, whose career was focused on bring Christians, Muslims, and Jews together — was assassinated by terrorists in Beirut in 1984.
“If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror. So I’m completely against what’s happening.”
“I would just say that as someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, having lost my father, if we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, by really going against the principles of what our country is about and creating fear, it’s the wrong way of going about it,” Kerr said Sunday. “If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror. So I’m completely against what’s happening.”
Elsewhere in the sports world, Kerr’s NBA peer, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, said the roll-out of the ban was “Keystone Kops-like by any measure with objectivity,” referring to the fictional, incompetent cops featured in silent films in the early 1900s.
The NBA, which has one Canadian team, the Toronto Rapters, has reached out to the State Department to find out how this ban will impact its players — particularly two players from South Sudan, Thon Maker and Luol Deng. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the NBA Player’s Association, assured people on Twitter that this was a priority.
— Michele Roberts (@MRobertsNBPA) January 29, 2017
Other NBA players also took to Twitter to express their frustration with the ban, though the majority of star players have not commented.
It's a tough day when u find out that so many ppl that u thought were fans or friends really hate u and everything u believe in.
— Nazr Mohammed (@NazrMohammed) January 28, 2017
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) January 29, 2017
— Jeremy Lin (@JLin7) January 29, 2017
This doesn’t just impact NBA players, either. Olympic champion Mo Farah, who was born in Somalia, grew up in England, and has lived in the United States for the last six years, says that the ban “comes from a place of ignorance and prejudice.”He was initially worried that he would not be able to get back into the United States to see his children due to his dual citizenship, but has since been assured that he will be able to return to the country. However, he “still fundamentally disagrees” with the policy.
U.S. men’s national soccer team captain Michael Bradley spoke out strongly against the ban, saying it “is just the latest example of someone who couldn’t be more out of touch with our country and the right way to move forward.”
Female pro athletes have also provided resistance. U.S. women’s national team star Alex Morgan said that she is “in shock and disbelief” over the ban. Her teammate Becky Sauerbrunn showed support for the ACLU. And WNBA Rookie of the Year Breanna Stewart actually made her way out to LAX to join the protests.
Currently at LAX pic.twitter.com/xRh4rIGsEx
— Breanna Stewart (@bre_stewart30) January 29, 2017
“My first protest was really inspiring — to be alongside such a diverse group of people who care about other humans! #NoMuslimBan #LAX,” she tweeted.
Not everyone in the sports world felt the same way about the protests, though. ESPN anchor Sage Steele took to Instagram to complain about how much her travel plans were inconvenienced by the protests, and former MLB player Aubrey Huff tweeted that if people have time to march and protest, “maybe it’s time for something called a job!”