Frank Isola of the New York Daily News passed along Noah's explanation one day after his teammates were involved in a series of activities with the West Point cadets:
Frank Isola @FisolaNYDN
Joakim Noah says his decision not to attend Knicks team dinner with West Point cadets last night isn't anti-solider but anti-war stance.2016-9-30 17:09:22
The Knicks passed along some highlights from the event:
NEW YORK KNICKS @nyknicks
The #Knicks eat with the cadets & listen to a memorable speech @WestPoint_USMA. #KnicksCamp pres. by @SAPSports https://t.co/f9vMX7rXAZ2016-9-30 15:24:23
"He has the utmost respect for the military members and cadets," Noah's representative told TMZ Sports. "He just doesn't agree with war."
West Point offered a statement on the situation after the event, per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:
Stefan Bondy @SBondyNYDN
Statement from West Point on Joakim Noah's decision not to attend dinner with cadets https://t.co/ZeB5tcGDRO2016-10-1 00:59:53
New York signed Noah in July as part of a roster overhaul that also included trading for his longtime Chicago Bulls teammate Derrick Rose. Their addition to a roster that had already featured Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis raised expectations considerably heading into the 2016-17 season.
Away from the court, the 31-year-old New York City native hasn't been afraid to speak his mind about controversial topics since returning to his hometown.
One day after his signing became official, he told Steve Serby of the New York Post he would "make it illegal to buy guns" if he were president of the United States and explained his feelings about some of the hot-button topics that made headlines throughout the summer:
It's just very sad what's going on in this country. Not just the police brutality, that's getting a lot of the headlines right now, but just kids killing kids, and kids having access to automatic rifles, and school shootings. … It's just disappointing that these laws aren't changing. It's almost like you hear all these things, and you almost become numb to the realities. This is not normal. They have to change the laws. They have to change the gun laws.
Noah has always been willing to speak his mind; his outspoken attitude dates back to his days as a two-time national champion with the Florida Gators.
The fact he's now in the country's biggest media market magnifies his comments. His decision to skip the dinner also comes at a time when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has spearheaded a movement of not standing during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality.
Meanwhile, the Knicks are preparing for the start of the new season. They are scheduled to kick off the preseason against the Houston Rockets on Oct. 4. Their regular season will get underway when they take on the reigning champion Cleveland Cavaliers in a nationally televised game Oct. 25.