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Knicks’ Joakim Noah Skips Team Dinner with West Point Cadets: ‘I Don’t Understand Kids Killing Kids’

Joakim Noah (Getty)
Joakim Noah

*New York Knicks player Joakim Noah, a recent transplant from the Chicago Bulls, is skipping a team dinner with Army cadets at West Point because he would have felt “uncomfortable” due to his opposition to war.

The Knicks are currently holding their training camp at the U.S. Military Academy.

“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, insisting that his decision shouldn’t be characterized as a protest.

On Thursday evening, the Knicks dined with the cadets at the mess hall at West Point Academy as part of training camp.
On Thursday evening (Sept. 29, 2016), the Knicks dined with the cadets at the mess hall at West Point Academy as part of training camp.

“I have mixed feeling about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America. I don’t understand kids killing kids around the world.’’

Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said “It’s [Noah’s] right” to skip the dinner as well as a speech by a retired army colonel.

Noah has dual citizenship in the United States and France, the home of his father, Yannick Noah, the former tennis star. Noah told reporters Friday, “I’m not a patriotic person,” believing people should “should support other people’’ more than “flags.’’

Noah, 31, who spent the previous nine seasons with the Bulls, runs a foundation called Noah’s Arc to benefit children that in part fights 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 didn’t say whether or not he’d kneel during the national anthem, but said he supported NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in recent weeks has popularized that form of protest in sports. Knicks teammate Carmelo Anthony has said any protests among the Knicks will be done as a team.

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