WEST POINT, N.Y. — Explaining that he was not "anti-troops," New York Knicks center Joakim Noah said he skipped a team dinner Thursday night at the U.S. Military Academy that featured cadets and a speech by a former colonel because he is against war. His decision was criticized by a West Point spokesman, who called the action "inappropriate."
"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," Noah said after Friday's practice. "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.
"At the end of the day, I'm not anti-troops. It's just not comfortable for me to see kids going out to war and coming back having seen what they've seen, having done what they've done. It's sad for me.”
Lt. Col. Christopher Kasker, West Point public affairs officer, said Noah's decision was disappointing.
"The U.S. Military Academy at West Point develops leaders of character for the defense of our nation," Kasker said. "We are disappointed and feel Mr. Noah's choice of West Point to make a statement is inappropriate because of the great sacrifice that has originated from this institution over our nation's history."
On Twitter, the Knicks tweeted photos late Friday of Noah spending time with the cadets.
By skipping the dinner, Noah said he wasn’t making a statement.
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