Steve Kerr is the kind of leader this broken country so desperately needs. Unfortunately, Herschel Walker is the kind we too often get.
Drawing on his own painful history, Kerr used his platform before the Golden State Warriors' playoff game Tuesday night to express the fury and frustration that the majority of us feel about the never-ending and senseless gun violence plaguing our country. With his voice rising to a shout, he pounded his fist on the table and demanded that our representatives in Washington do what we want, rather than what suits their interests.
“I ask you, Mitch McConnell, and ask all you senators who refuse to do anything about the violence, the school shootings, the supermarket shootings, I ask you, 'Are you going to put your own desire for power ahead of the lives of our children, our elderly and our churchgoers?' Because that’s what it looks like. That’s what we do every week,” Kerr said. “I’m fed up. I’ve had enough.
“Do you realize 90 percent of Americans, regardless of political party, want universal background checks? We’re being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put it to a vote, despite what we the American people want. They won’t vote on it, because they want to hold onto their own power. It’s pathetic. I’ve had enough.”
Steve Kerr on today's tragic shooting in Uvalde, Texas. pic.twitter.com/lsJ8RzPcmC
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) May 24, 2022
Warriors star Steph Curry posted the clip of Kerr's speech to his Twitter feed and implored fans to, "Watch this as much as you watch the game tonight."
And yet, we all know that in another couple of days or a week we’ll be right back here again.
Maybe it won’t be an elementary school like it was Tuesday, when an 18-year-old with two assault rifles gunned down at least 19 second-, third- and fourth graders and two teachers. Or a supermarket like it was 10 days ago, when a racist white man killed 10 Black people. Or a hotel like it was last month, when four people were shot to death.
Or any of the thousands of other ordinary, everyday places where the life of somebody’s child, parent, spouse, sibling or friend was snuffed out because we don’t have enough politicians with the courage to do what’s right.
BLOODSHED SINCE SANDY HOOK: Uvalde school shooting among deadliest school attacks in past 10 years
Because we don’t have enough politicians like Kerr, and we have too many like Walker.
The former Georgia football star has never held elected office before, and there are any number of things that should disqualify him from ever doing so if this were a rational country. Records show a trail of failed businesses and unpaid loans. A charity he once promoted appears to be a sham. He doesn’t appear to believe in evolution.
And, in an incident that was too sadly relevant Tuesday, Walker’s ex-wife said he once pointed a gun at her head and told her he was going to “blow your (expletive) brains out.” Walker himself has described a time he was so angry at someone who was late delivering a car he’d ordered that “all I could think was how satisfying it would feel to step out of the car, pull out the gun, slip off the safety and squeeze the trigger.”
Despite all this, Walker cruised to the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in Georgia on Tuesday night because enough people only care that he led the Bulldogs to their first national title 40-some years ago. So long as he’s affiliated with the right party – or, more accurately, isn’t affiliated with the wrong one – there is nothing that can’t be forgiven.
How Walker will govern if he’s elected, or what he will do for the people he serves, doesn’t matter. Because we are a country that long ago lost its way and we don’t have enough people willing to help us find our way back.
“I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child or grandchild, mother or father, sister or brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?” said Kerr, who knows because his father Malcolm was gunned down in 1984 by two extremists at the American University of Beirut, where he was the president.
“We can’t get numb to this,” Kerr said. “We can’t sit here and just read about it and go, `Well, let’s have a moment of silence.’”
We need more leaders like Kerr, and fewer like Walker. Or this broken country will never heal.
Follow USA TODAY Sports columnist Nancy Armour on Twitter @nrarmour.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Steve Kerr, not Herschel Walker, is kind of leader USA needs