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.


World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah "is ready to play against Russia"

Updated 53 min 21 sec ago
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World Cup boost for Egypt as Mohamed Salah "is ready to play against Russia"

  • Liverpool star took part in full training
  • Egypt team manager says Salah is poised to make his World Cup bow

ST PETERSBURG: Mohamed Salah is a looming obstacle as Russia attempt to virtually secure their place in the knockout stages of the World Cup in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday.
Fears that poor performances from the home side could dampen enthusiasm in the host nation were blown away by a 5-0 demolition of Saudi Arabia in the opening game.
The seven-time African champions will pose a much tougher task, but a lot will depend upon Salah's fitness.
Liverpool star Salah has not featured since leaving the field in tears early in the Champions League final just over three weeks ago after landing heavily on his left shoulder and had to watch from the bench as Egypt lost 1-0 to Uruguay in their opening game.
Salah has been declared 100 percent fit by Egypt's team doctor and his agent, leaving little doubt he will be thrown back into action in the Pharaohs' hour of need.
However, as he returned to training on Saturday, Salah was seen by AFP reporters at Egypt's training camp in Grozny needing help from teammates to lift a training top over his head.
"Salah participated in training with his teammates for the entire session and he is ready to play against Russia according to technical staff," Egypt's team manager Ihab Leheta told FIFA.com.
Egypt coach Hector Cuper's decision not to risk Salah against Uruguay may have been influenced by the fact his side held out for 89 minutes before conceding to Jose Gimenez, by which time the Argentine had made all three of his substitutions.
"Russia's game is fateful and difficult because of our defeat against Uruguay," said Leheta. "Winning is our only choice".
If fully fit, the sight of Salah, who scored 44 goals in a remarkable debut season at Liverpool, will strike fear into the Russians.
Concerns Russia could become just the second host nation to bow out of the World Cup at the group stage after a seven-game winless run ahead of the tournament have been alleviated by a perfect start.
With Uruguay favourites to top the group, though, Russia are keen not to have to rely on getting something from their final group game against the two-time former world champions.
"The second game will be our most important one in the group stage," said Russia's deputy prime minister and former football federation president Vitaly Mutko after attending Russia's training session on Sunday.
A close ally of President Vladimir Putin, Mutko oversaw preparations for the tournament at a cost of more than $13 billion.
"In the first match, everyone saw how much the players cared. If we play up to our level, I don't see any problems."
Denis Cheryshev was Russia's hero against Saudi Arabia as he came off the bench to score twice.
And the Villarreal winger accepted it will be a more "interesting" clash if Salah is fit.
"If he's not there, does that mean our task becomes easy? Not at all," he told FIFA.com "If he plays, it will be hard but more interesting. He's one of the best and you always want to compete with the best and win."
Russia will be without one of their key players, with Alan Dzagoev expected to miss the rest of the tournament with a hamstring injury.