Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Wednesday that although the NBA champions have not received an invitation to visit the White House, he would urge his players to consider going as a gesture of goodwill.
"I would want to make sure the players gave this really a lot of thought," Kerr told "The TK Show" podcast. "And everybody knows I've been a very outspoken critic of [President Donald] Trump, and as a result, maybe we won't even get the invitation. But I do think it's very important to consider a potential invitation because I think it could have really positive ramifications if we did go."
Several Warriors, including captain Stephen Curry, have said publicly that their preference would be to decline an invitation, although the team has made no formal decision and won't until it receives an invitation.
Kerr said on ESPN's The Lowe Post podcast last week that "there's a respect for the institution, for the office. There's a respect for our government that I think you have to take into account regardless of people's opinions of the person sitting in that chair."
He reiterated that stance Wednesday and said, "I think it could make a statement in a time where there's so much divide and everybody seems to be angry with each other. It might be a good statement for us to go. And to show that, 'Hey, let's put this aside, put all this partisan stuff aside and personal stuff aside, respect the institution.'"
He added: "Maybe even if you know, if one of you players wants to voice your concerns over what's happening, what better opportunity to do so. Now, that may be incredibly idealistic. But I would want to at least bring that up with our players as an option rather than just coming out and saying, 'No way, I'm not going.'"
Kerr said that he, like many of his players, has been offended by some of Trump's words and actions, but that "a symbolic gesture" like the Warriors visiting the White House could help connect people in a divided nation.
"We all have to start thinking about ways we can connect with one another and stop this divide, and maybe sports is a good sort of forum to try to help that," he told "The TK Show."
Kerr noted that the Warriors received an invitation from California's congressional representatives from the East Bay, a region which includes Oakland, and said he "would love" to get an invitation to the White House.
"This is not about partisan policy, it's not about Democrat or Republican, it's about communication, it's about respect, it's about character and morality," he said. "And those are things that we have to really value as a country."