“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 told reporters. “I have mixed feelings about being here. I’m very proud of this country. I love America.
“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.”
Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek gave Noah permission not to participate in the event at the U.S. Military Academy, where the team is holding training camp. Noah also did not attend a speech from a retired colonel.
“That’s his right,” Hornacek told reporters. “He wants to be a part of the team group and do everything the team is doing. He just didn’t feel comfortable. We’re not going to pressure him into doing that.”
Noah insisted his decision to sit out the dinner wasn’t an attempt to try to make a Colin Kaepernick-type statement, although he did say he is open to participating in a protest with his teammates, according to the New York Daily News.