HOUSTON -- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr called the NFL's new anthem policy, which will prevent players from kneeling during the national anthem, "idiotic."
"I think it's just typical of the NFL," Kerr responded when asked about the league's new policy after shootaround Thursday in advance of Game 5 of the conference finals. "They're just playing off their fan base, and they're just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people. It's idiotic, but that's how the NFL has handled their business."
Commissioner Roger Goodell said Wednesday that owners unanimously approved the new policy, although the San Francisco 49ers' Jed York said he abstained from the vote. The NFL, however, confirmed that no formal vote was held Wednesday. Under the new guideline, players will be allowed to remain in the locker room while the anthem is being played. Any violation of the rule would result in fines levied against the teams.
President Donald Trump called the new policy "good" for the NFL and even went on to say of any player who kneels, "maybe you shouldn't be in the country."
Kerr furthermore blasted the NFL's decision to implement such a policy and applauded the NBA's handling of social justice matters.
"I'm proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech," he said. "It's about peacefully protesting. I think our leaders in the NBA understand that when an NFL player is kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They're weren't disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base by creating this hysteria.
"It's kind of what's wrong with our country. People in high places are trying to divide us, divide loyalties, make this about the flag, as if the flag is something other than what it really is. It's a representation of what we're about, which is diversity, peaceful protest, the abilities, the right to free speech. So, it's really ironic, actually, what the NFL is doing."