Joakim Noah skips team dinner at West Point because he is anti-war
New York Knicks center Joakim Noah chose not to attend a team dinner with US Army cadets and a retired colonel on Thursday night because he is against the idea of war.
Noah told reporters on Friday that he received permission from head coach Jeff Hornacek to skip the event.
“It’s hard for me a little bit – I have a lot of respect for the kids here fighting — but it’s hard for me to understand why we go to war and why kids have to kill kids all around the world,” Noah said, per Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America. I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.”
This is the third consecutive year that the Knicks are holding training camp at West Point, where the United States Military Academy is based. Noah insists his decision to pass on the dinner was not a form of protest.
“It’s not my way of saying anything – I was not comfortable,” he said.
Hornacek said skipping the dinner is Noah’s “right,” noting that the team was fine with the decision especially given all that Noah does with raising awareness about gun violence. The former Florida star runs a charity called Noah’s Arc, and one of the goals is to fight gun violence.
“It’s changed my life the way I see things,” Noah said. “I spent a lot of time in Chicago in the neighborhoods trying to fight the gun violence. The truth is we’re losing big time. It’s just sad not enough is being done about it. This is the best country in the world, most powerful country in the world, and you go into some of these neighborhoods and feel you’re in a third-world country or war zone.”
Noah’s decision will almost certainly be likened to all the drama that is going on in the NFL, though it sounds like he was not trying to make that strong of a political statement. Still, we all do things on a daily basis that we are not comfortable with. Noah had to have known the reaction he would get.