NBA

Joakim Noah Skipped Team Dinner With West Point Cadets

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This week during training camp, the New York Knicks hosted a dinner with a group of West Point Cadets. Cadets got the chance to meet NBA players, and players got to listen to speeches from military members.

One player wasn’t in attendance though. Newly acquired center Joakim Noah elected to sit out, citing his anti-war belief system. Via New York Daily News:

“I wasn’t there to be honest with you. It’s hard for me a little bit. I have a lot of respect for the kids who are out here fighting. But it’s hard for me to understand why we have to go to war, why kids have to kill kids around the world. So I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America but I just don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.

“I’m not anti-troops. It’s just not comfortable for me to see kids going to war and coming back having seen what they’ve seen and done what they’ve done. It’s sad for me. It’s sad for me.”

While the move will surely cause controversy, it seems like this wasn’t meant as a political statement. In his years in Chicago, Noah was a big activist against violence in the city, and he’s always promoted a message of peace. For someone who is upset by the concept of war and the idea that we send our young men to go kill other young men, meeting those young men face to face would be difficult. Noah’s coach, Jeff Hornacek, supported Noah’s choice, but also added that hearing some of the speeches given by military members might have given him some understanding.

“That’s his right,” said Hornacek. “He wants to be a part of the team group and do everything the team is doing. He just didn’t feel comfortable. We’re not going to pressure him into doing that. We had the speaker (the ex-colonel) who I thought was fantastic. I told him, maybe we can get a little copy, if there’s a copy of the speech, just so he can hear some of it. That’s his right.”

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