Joakim Noah opted to skip the New York Knicks’ annual dinner with West Point cadets Thursday night at the U.S. Military Academy. Noah claims he wasn’t taking a stand or starting up his own protest, he just didn’t feel attending was proper because of his anti-war stance.
Noah also skipped a speech given by a retired Army Colonel.
Here’s what he had to say about his decision:
“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.”
The Knicks are holding their training camp at West Point for the third year in a row, but the newly-arrived Noah had yet to experience it.
Head coach Jeff Hornacek said Noah approached him and expressed his concerns and Hornacek supported his decision to skip the dinner because he was uncomfortable. He was the only player who didn’t attend.
Noah continued his explanation of his feelings towards the military:
“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. They’re just sent out for things that are — I don’t really want to get into it, to be honest with you. It’s just hard for me.”
He also added the following:
“I’m not a very patriotic person, to be honest. I don’t understand the whole flags, supporting flags. I’m more into supporting people.”
I understand Noah’s stance here and he absolutely has the right to take it. Plenty of people are pro-troops and anti-war, and it’s far better that he skipped the dinner than to have sat there being uncomfortable the entire time.