Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr last night slammed US gun control laws as “pathetic” and refused to discuss basketball after 19 children and two teachers were killed in a shooting at an elementary school in Texas.
The killer has been named as 18-year-old Salvador Ramos, who was himself shot dead by law enforcement officers after entering Robb Elementary School in the city of Uvalde, 80 miles west of San Antonio, and opening fire on his victims.
Kerr was in Texas for Game 4 of his side’s NBA Western Conference Finals series against the Dallas Mavericks when news of the mass shooting broke and the 56-year-old used his pre-match press conference to make an impassioned call for action to US senators.
“I’m not going to talk about basketball - any basketball questions don’t matter,” said a visibly angry Kerr.
"In the last 10 days, we've had elderly black people killed in a supermarket in Buffalo, we've had Asian churchgoers killed in Southern California.
"Now we have children murdered at school. When are we going to do something? I'm so tired of getting up here and offering condolences to the devastated families that are out there.”
Kerr is an NBA legend, having won five Championships as a player - three alongside the likes of Michael Jordan with the famous Chicago Bulls team of the 1990s - and three more so far as a head coach.
The former point guard is a long-time advocate for gun control, his father having been killed by a gunman in a terrorist attack in Beirut in 1984.
“I’m fed up, I’ve had enough. We’re going to play the game tonight but I want every person here, every person listening to this, to think about your own child, grandchild, or mother, father, sister, brother. How would you feel if this happened to you today?
“We can’t get numb to this. We can’t just sit here, read about this and have a moment of silence.
“We are being held hostage by 50 senators in Washington who refuse to even put [tighter gun control laws] 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.”
Slamming his fists on the table and walking out of the press conference, Kerr added: “It’s pathetic! I’ve had enough!”