SAN FRANCISCO -- Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr said Saturday he was unsurprised by President Donald Trump's decision to revoke an invitation to the White House as the NBA champions announced plans to make their own trip to the nation's capital.
A relaxed and smiling Kerr spoke with reporters hours after Trump announced on Twitter that he would not invite the Warriors to the White House for a traditional reception.
It followed comments from Warriors star Stephen Curry on Friday that he did not want to visit Trump. Other Warriors players have made similar remarks in recent weeks.
Kerr said he had expected Trump to withdraw the invitation.
"Not surprised," Kerr said. "He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him."
Kerr, who has met five US Presidents at the White House during a playing and coaching career that has yielded seven NBA championships, said in general he was enthusiastic about the principle of paying homage to the sitting US leader.
"The idea of going to the White House as part of a championship team is awesome," Kerr said.
"It's an incredible honour. You honour the office, you honour the institution. I can speak from personal experience.
"I've had the pleasure to meet with (Ronald) Reagan, George Bush, (Bill) Clinton, George W. Bush, (Barack) Obama. I didn't necessarily agree with all of them but it was an incredible honour to be in their presence."
Trump's rhetoric however had made it difficult for the Warriors to entertain the possibility of maintaining the traditional White House visit.
"In normal times we would very easily be able to set aside political differences and go visit have a great time and it would be awesome," he said.
"But these are not ordinary times. Probably the most divisive times in my life, I guess since Vietnam. Because of the differences that exist in the country the president made it really, really difficult for us to honour that institution.
"Our differences, I think in terms of our team and our organization’s values are so dramatically different, in terms of inclusion, civil discourse, dignity, and it's hard for us every day. We're seeing the things he's saying."
Kerr voiced disgust at Trump's remarks in Alabama on Friday in which he said that players protesting the national anthem should be fired.
"I thought yesterday his comments about the NFL players were as bad as anything he's said to this point, awful," Kerr said.
"You talk about young men who are peacefully protesting police brutality and racism, racial inequality, peacefully protesting, hallmarks of our country? Come on."
Kerr's remarks came after the Warriors issued a statement saying the team would now make their own trip to Washington to "celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion."
"In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we'll constructively use our trip to the nation's capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion - the values that we embrace as an organisation," the team said.
© Agence France-Presse
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