Two of the 10 people on the cover of Sports Illustrated’s most recent edition took offense with it Wednesday.
Warriors star Stephen Curry and coach Steve Kerr are part of SI’s attempt to show how sports have united in the wake of a national divide about many social and political issues, but specifically in recent days about President Donald Trump’s clash with professional leagues. Last week, Trump attacked NFL players for protesting racial inequality during the national anthem and the NBA champion Warriors for “hesitating” about whether or not they wanted to visit him at the White House.
There was widespread criticism directed at the cover for a couple of reasons.
One, it did not include former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has been the face of the NFL protests because he was the first to sit and then take a knee during the anthem to raise awareness of racial inequality and police mistreatment of black people in America. Two, it did include NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who offered a tepid rebuke of Trump’s criticism and has been accused of leading the NFL’s efforts to hijack the protest movement and morph it into a more brand-friendly statement about unity, rather than talk about the real issues.
“That was terrible,” Curry told reporters Wednesday, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “It’s just kind capitalizing on the hoopla and the media and all that nonsense. The real people understand exactly what’s been going on, and who’s really been active and vocal and truly making a difference. If you don’t have Kaepernick front and center on that, something’s wrong. It’s kind of hard how certain narratives take place, being prisoners of the moment.
“And me [linked arms with] Roger Goodell? That makes zero sense at all. He had the most on-the-fence comment,” Curry added, according to The Athletic.
Curry has long been supportive of Kaepernick and other NFL players who have decided to join the protest. He, Kerr and several other Warriors have also been vocal in their distaste for Trump’s politics and his actions. At Warriors’ Media Day to open NBA training camp, Curry and Kevin Durant both said they didn’t want to visit the White House, but would let the team decide after a meeting about it.
Trump caught wind of Curry’s comments and dis-invited the Warriors before said meeting ever took place. That led to LeBron James calling the President a “bum,” and other NBA stars speaking out against him.
“I looked at it and went, ‘Where the hell is Kap?’” Kerr said, according to The Athletic. “If the article is about activism in sports, how is Kaepernick not on the cover? I just don’t understand how you can omit the guy who basically began this movement.”