Two-time MVP Curry: NBA anthem protests would be ‘counter-productive’

Stephen Curry had previously said he would likely skip the customary visit by his defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors to the White House over Trump’s policies. (AP)
Updated 07 October 2017
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Two-time MVP Curry: NBA anthem protests would be ‘counter-productive’

SHANGHAI: Two-time MVP Stephen Curry said Saturday it would be “counter-productive” for NBA players to follow their NFL counterparts by kneeling in protest during the national anthem.
Scores of National Football League (NFL) players have taken a knee during the anthem in defiance of US President Donald Trump, who two weeks ago blasted the practice as an insult to the country.
Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began kneeling last year to highlight perceived unjust treatment of African-Americans.
Curry had previously said he would likely skip the customary visit by his defending NBA champions Golden State Warriors to the White House over Trump’s policies, which prompted the president to revoke the entire team’s invitation in a Twitter outburst.
“Anything beyond that is, for me, kind of counter-productive,” Curry said when asked about the possibility of anthem protests in the NBA.
Curry, whose Warriors are in Shanghai for the second of two China pre-season games against the Minnesota Timberwolves, said there are better ways, such as being active in their communities, for players to make their views known.
“At the end of the day, we all as individuals have an opportunity to be a vessel of light and love ... by how we treat each other and what we stand for,” he said.
ESPN reported a week ago that the NBA already had sent a memo to teams saying players must stand for the anthem when the season opens on October 17.
Kevin Durant, who has bolstered the Warrior’s quest for a third title in four years by joining the team this season, said he would not kneel but “wouldn’t look at it as a surprise” if other players did.
Retired Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, in a podcast released on Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter, said he would kneel during the anthem if he was still playing.
Trump’s tirade against NFL protesters provoked an unprecedented show of defiance two weeks ago when a large number of mostly black players dropped to one knee during the anthem, while other players stood with arms interlocked.
The NBA, in its memo to teams reported by ESPN, said the league has the discretion to discipline players who violate a rule requiring that teams stand for the anthem.
The memo suggested that teams make an effort in their first home game to address the current political climate by having players and coaches give a pregame address to their fans.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has also said he expects players to stand for the anthem.


Work still to be done for Egypt's Al-Ahly in quest for African Champions League glory

Updated 23 September 2018
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Work still to be done for Egypt's Al-Ahly in quest for African Champions League glory

  • The Egyptian giants took a step closer to a ninth continental title
  • Attention immediately changed to the first leg against Setif in Cairo on Oct. 2

CAIRO: Al-Ahly coach Patrice Carteron has warned his players against complacency in their forthcoming African Champions League semifinal clash against Setif of Algeria, even though his side swept through with a 4-0 quarterfinal second-leg victory over Guinea’s Horoya in Cairo on Saturday.
The Egyptian giants took a step closer to a ninth continental title with the win against the Guineans after a goalless first leg. From the moment Walid Soliman opened the scoring after 32 minutes at the Al-Salam Stadium, the result was never in doubt as the Reds put in a dominant performance.
Second half goals from Islam Mohareb, Salah Mohsen and Ahmed Fathy confirmed the win.
“It was a good performance, especially as the pitch was poor,” Carteron said. “We are happy to go through but we controlled the game, especially in the second half when we were at our best. We adjusted our offensive strategy at the break and that made a difference.”
Attention immediately changed to the first leg against Setif in Cairo on Oct. 2.
“We know that the game will be very tough as Setif are a strong team but this is the semifinal of the Champions League, you know that any game is going to be tough,” added the Frenchman.
Setif defeated defending champions Wydad Casablanca of Morocco 1-0 on aggregate and will host Al-Ahly in Algeria in the second leg on Oct. 23.
“Setif were the champions in 2014 and we know that we are going to have be at our best if we are going to the final,” said the 48 year-old, who also coached TP Mazembe of Congo to the 2015 title. He is aiming to deliver similar success for Al-Ahly, who last lifted the trophy in 2013.
“When I took the job three months ago, the target was clear: to win the Champions League. That is still the objective and we have taken a big step toward that today.
“Standards in the competition are getting better all the time and results in the quarterfinal show this,” Carteron said, adding that he and his players had taken note of how Mazembe had been knocked out at the last-eight stage.
“Now we are in the semifinal and we have to prepare as well as we can to face Setif. It will be a big challenge but we are looking forward to it.”
Setif reached the semifinal after a 0-0 draw in the second leg in Morocco on Friday to take the tie 1-0 on aggregate following a win on Algerian soil a week earlier.
Goalkeeper Moustapha Zeghba was the star of the show in Casablanca and made a number of fine saves to deny the defending champions.
It was a feather in the cap for coach Rachid Taoussi, a Moroccan who coached Wydad from 2002 to 2003.
“We managed this game very well,” Taoussi said. “We withstood the pressure. It is not easy to keep out such a team, especially with their fans behind them. In the end they had to play long balls and that made it easier for us to defend.”
While Morocco may have lost its sole representative left in the competition, Taoussi is flying the flag for his homeland. “I am proud to be Moroccan. I respect Wydad and the supporters a lot. It’s not easy for anyone to come here and play like we did.
“It is also a demonstration for those who constantly criticize the skills of Moroccan coaches. I’m so happy. That said, the most important thing for us now is to think about going even further in this competition, that is, reaching the final. We have one more step to go; we will give everything until the end.”
The other semifinal sees a third North African team trying to reach the showpiece event as Esperance de Tunis take on Clube Desportivo de Agosto of Angola.