Steve Kerr addresses the media before Game 2 of the NBA Finals on June 2, 2019. (Ryan Gorcey / S.F. Examiner)

Kerr makes familiar statement with Vote For Our Lives t-shirt

Steve Kerr, a the son of a victim of gun violence, makes statement before Game 2

TORONTO — Steve Kerr has never been shy about his politics, especially when it comes to gun violence.

Having lost his father to an assassination in Lebanon, Kerr has used his platform as head coach of the Golden State Warriors — one of the most openly progressive teams in an openly progressive league — to advocate for stricter gun laws.

Following Friday’s mass shooting in Virginia Beach that left 12 dead, Kerr took advantage of an international stage. On Sunday, before Game 2 of the NBA Finals, with former president Barack Obama expected to attend, Kerr walked into his pregame NBA Finals press conference wearing a “Vote For Our Lives” shirt.

“I wasn’t aware that he was coming until a little while ago,” Kerr said. “The shirt has everything to do with the tragedy in Virginia Beach … and how devastated so many families are and so many people.

Kerr has often criticized the National Rifle Association and the government’s inaction on gun control legislation after mass shootings. Kerr’s father, Malcolm, was a university professor at American University of Beirut when he was killed by gunmen in 1984, when Steve was 18. It was considered an act of terrorism.

Just before Election Day in 2018, he penned an essay with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard speaking about gun control. He participated in a Town Hall at Newark Memorial High School with Rep. Ro Khanna, D-San Jose. He also spoke alongside Matt Deitsch, the older brother of one of the survivors of the Parkland mass shooting, in the aftermath of which he also spoke out.

“Because of people like Matt,” he wrote in the essay, “I now have hope that our gun laws can change.”

Kerr also spoke out after the mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, has attended the March for Our Lives rallies and spoke on the mass shooting in Thousand Oaks.

“The shirt’s a reminder that the only way we can get out of this mess is to actually vote,” Kerr said Sunday, “and to vote for people who are going to be willing to create some change in our gun laws in our country.

“So, the young generation, the March For Our Lives generation, has really inspired me, and so I offer my support to them and to all young people, and hope that we can create a change where we don’t all have to walk around scared we’re going to get shot in our country.”

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