Stephen Curry opened up about his avoidance of the White House and pled for productive conversations rather than “all of this noise” in a Veterans Day essay for The Players’ Tribune.
“Let’s please not get lost in another one of these endless debates about who means what when they’re doing what, or who is disrespecting whom,” the Warriors star wrote, in part. “Instead, let’s respect — let’s celebrate — our veterans, by having a conversation about the actual ways that we as civilians, as their fellow Americans they’ve fought to protect, can hold up our end of the bargain.”
Curry recounted how a recent exchange with a veteran who served in Afghanistan led him to rethink the ways military veterans are treated in America — particularly in the Veterans Affairs medical system.
“Homelessness, unemployment, mental health and, yes, racial inequality — those are the issues that our vets are facing,” Curry wrote. “These are mostly universal issues, which are being felt in every town in America.”
He said he wrote the piece because of people “who will tell you that pro athletes, when they engage in peaceful protest, are disrespecting the military, our flag and our country.”
Veterans, he said, understand the players’ intentions.
“This conversation we’ve started to have in the world of sports — whether it’s been Colin (Kaepernick) kneeling, or entire NFL teams finding their own ways to show unity, or me saying that I didn’t want to go to the White House — it’s the opposite of disrespectful to them,” he wrote. “A lot of them have said, that even if they don’t totally agree with every position of every person, this is exactly the thing that they fought to preserve: the freedom of every American to express our struggles, our fears, our frustrations, and our dreams for a more equal society.”
Curry clearly did not expect to be targeted by President Trump.
“You know, I remember when I woke up on the morning that (I still can’t believe I’m saying these words) the President tweeted at me,” he wrote. “You probably don’t need me to tell you this, but, man, it was … surreal.”
It was the morning before Warriors started practicing for this season and Curry woke up to a flood of texts “just blowing up my phone.”
“They were all these friends of mine, just, like, defending me, and telling me that I was right, and, you know, not to worry about it. But I had no idea what they were even talking about,” he wrote. “Then finally I brought up Twitter, checked on my mentions and all of that — and I saw it. It was what it was.”
Curry said he hoped his article would spur meaningful conversations.
“If I’m going to use my platform … I don’t want to just be noise. I want to use it to talk about real issues, that are affecting real people. I want to use it to shine a spotlight on the things that I care about. And I care about our veterans deeply,” he wrote. “Let’s talk about the broken VA medical system, and traumatic brain injuries, and PTSD … Let’s talk about how we can do better, to make their lives easier.”