SEAT PLEASANT, Md. (CBS HOUSTON) – Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant said he will not visit the White House and President Donald Trump if invited with his team.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” Durant told ESPN. “I don’t respect who’s in office right now.”
The Warriors visit the nation’s capital on February 28th to take on the Washington Wizards, which would be a likely time for the team to visit the home of the President as is customary for championship winning teams. An invitation from the White House has not yet been extended.
“I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that,” said Durant, who said this was his decision, not a team one. “That’s just me personally, but if I know my guys well enough, they’ll all agree with me.”
President Trump’s comments over the last week on the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia has been met with criticism from many public figures and politicians.
“I just wanted to sit back and analyze everything and gather my thoughts,” Durant said. “I wanted to say something immediately, but I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.
“I’m representing a lot of people. As far as what’s going on in our country, for one, as an athlete, you have to commend Colin Kaepernick, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, CP3 [Chris Paul] [and] Dwyane Wade for starting that conversation last year. Russell Westbrook also said something in his speech. A lot [of] guys with platforms have drove the conversation in a good direction. And what’s going on in Charlottesville, that was unfathomable.”
A white supremacist rally protesting the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue was organized in Charlottesville last week. During a counter protest, Heather Heyer a 32-year-old from the area was killed after being struck by a vehicle allegedly driven by James Alex Fields Jr. Over a dozen other protesters were injured.
Durant believes that people in a place of power in the country should speak up and take a stand.
“For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak,” Durant said. “It’s great to see a lot of athletes coming together and trying to direct a positive path for a lot of kids and a lot of people in this country who look up to us.
“It’s huge for us. It’s huge for sports. It’s huge for the influence we have, because we’re leaders at the end of the day. It feels good to see my brothers in the NBA and across sports speaking out.”
Durant, who grew up in the D.C. area believes love is the way to bring the nation back together.
“I grew up in a community that was 95 percent African-American and one of the most flourishing communities in the country,” Durant said. “And we did that by loving each other and continuing to uplift each other in our communities.
“But also, we fought for equality of all. We fought for wanting everybody in our neighborhoods to feel comfortable everywhere, amongst all people. And I think a lot of players that have stood up and talked about that have come from communities where we had to band together and rise up.
“… You should also commend a lot of the guys who haven’t said anything publicly but are doing a lot in their communities. Even though it looks bad, I can tell you firsthand, especially in our league, I see so many guys doing so much for their communities that they grew up in. I think it’s only going to get better if we look at it that way. The positive side of things. It’s only going to get better if guys keep pouring in and investing in their communities.”