Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey calls U.S. President Donald Trump’s travel ban “scary,” saying it reminds him of the racial segregation in the American south in the 1960s.
Casey, Raptors president Masai Ujiri, and all-star guard Kyle Lowry joined the growing chorus of voices speaking out against Trump’s executive order banning travellers from seven Muslim-majority countries Monday.
“I don’t like it,” Casey said. “Our nation, the U.S., is a nation of immigrants. . . Just to put a blanket ban over a lot of Muslim countries that we have no issues with, we have to be careful.”
“It’s a slippery slope,” he added. “For every action, there’s a cause and effect and a reaction by other people, so we have to be careful. Again, I’m a U.S. citizen, a proud U.S. citizen, but we have to be careful how we’re handling our business in the States.”
Trump’s executive order suspended entry of all refugees to the U.S. for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely, and blocked entry into the U.S. for 90 days for citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Casey’s sentiments on the ban came the day after six people were killed at a mosque in the city’s Sainte-Foy neighbourhood.
“My heart goes out to the people in Quebec City,” Casey said. “The whole world right now, we have to be careful and be conscious of each other, and be sympathetic to each other. When you exclude one group of people, you have the propensity to exclude a lot of people.”
Lowry denounced the Trump’s ban with an expletive-laden response, adding “Our country is the country of the home of the free.”
When asked if he’d repeat his response for television without swearing, Lowry said “No, not at all. Y’all have to bleep that out. That’s how I feel about it. If you use it, you use it. I’m sure you can bleep it out.”
The NBA has consulted with the U.S. State Department on whether the ban would affect a league which features numerous Muslim players.
Ujiri, who was born in Nigeria and attended college in the U.S., said “I think I’m a prime example of what opportunity is.”
“I know I speak in some ways for the league because there’s a representation. I know what this league has done for me, and I know what our league believes in. I see what our league does all around the world. It’s incredible,” Ujiri added.
Casey and Ujiri join the likes of Golden State coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich who have been outspoken in their opposition about Trump’s policies toward Muslims.
Ujiri said he’s generally a positive person, and remains hopeful.
“We always get through these tough times, I think,” Ujiri said. “That’s how human beings are cut. I think we’ll get through it. I think (former US President Barack) Obama said the core of us will survive this. Everybody is going to stomach this and figure out a way to survive this.
“But to me it’s just not good. Somehow you’re starting to get people to think in a bad way all over the world. And I just don’t know how that’s good.”
The Canadian Press