Realistically, we probably won’t remember much about Wednesday’s game between the LA Clippers and Golden State Warriors in the annals of history, at least compared to what happened elsewhere on the day.
After a hostile mob stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C. Wednesday afternoon, interrupting the session of Congress while they were certifying the 2020 presidential election results, it was initially unclear what, if anything, NBA teams scheduled to be in action would do in reaction to the violent scenes in the nation’s capital. Considering the NBA players initiated the unprecedented sports strike in August to protest racial injustice, it was initially unclear what would happen in NBA matters.
In the end, NBA players across the league decided to kneel collectively during the national anthem, which is what the Clippers and Warriors did for their 7 pm tip-off.
Clippers, Warriors kneel for national anthem. pic.twitter.com/aqIpFDfb6O— Janie McCauley (@JanieMcCAP) January 7, 2021
Clippers head coach Ty Lue was asked pregame about the events of the day and whether it was difficult to focus on a game after a day like no other before in American history.
“I mean yeah it’s tough,” Lue responded. “We got to keep talking about these same issues. They just keep coming up. The guys are tired of it. They’re tired of it, just talking to the guys today. It’s just sad that we have to go through these things. Especially when President Obama got elected and everyone was so happy for our culture, for us who we are as Black people and as a country, and to look now four years later, we are dealing with this, it just shows you how far we have to come and how far we have to go to become a better country. It’s just sad.”
In processing the day before the game, Lue said his players were not surprised by what happened in the Capitol.
“Just a very sad day,” he said. “We talked about it all last year for what people went through with the social justice, now today, being at the Capitol and performing the way they’re performing, it’s just a sad day. No one wants to be a part of that. Our players, I talked to individually, and the saddest thing for me today, just talking to our players individually is that they’re not shocked. And that’s messed up. For a situation like this to happen and them not being shocked about it, it’s pretty hurtful. I think we got to do a better job of raising awareness but not just talking about it, let’s actually take action. I am just tired of all the damn talking about it. Let’s make some movement and do something about it.”
Warriors coach Steve Kerr also spoke about the events of the day, and raised a fair point about the distinction between sports media and political media.
“I think the last thing I’ll say on this topic is I wish people like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley had to do pregame media before they meet in Congress,” Kerr said. “It would be great for them to have to answer the question: ‘Are you happy now? Is the line — do you keep moving the line back or does this change anything or are you going to continue to enable?’ So maybe they should do pregame media? Maybe even an end-of-first-quarter-of-the-session interview while Congress is meeting? I would like that.”
After the pregame comments and the teams kneeling during the anthem, the game got underway as normal.