Joakim Noah

On the court, Joakim Noah is a warrior. Off the court, he wants peace. So maybe the Knicks' holding training camp at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point wasn't the best thing for Noah.

In their third season at West Point, the Knicks had their annual dinner with Army cadets Thursday night. Noah, a free-agent signee this offseason, skipped the meal.

"It's hard for me a little bit," Noah told reporters Friday. "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. 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."

Noah -- who was born in the United States to a French father, tennis star Yannick Noah, and a Swedish mother, model Cécilia Rodhe -- holds American, French and Swedish citizenship. Noah has taken a public stand against gun violence, and in 2010, the two-time All-Star created the Noah's Arc Foundation, which "provides diverse opportunities for kids to become more aware and conscious of their ability to make a positive impact on themselves and their community."

All other Knicks, including stars Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis, mingled with the cadets. Noah says he has taken time to get to know such young military men, which actually made his decision to avoid the dinner easier.

"I have (talked to them) before," Noah says. "I really don't like what they have to say. It's usually very sad.

"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. It's sad for me. They're just sent out for things that are – I don't really want to get into it, to be honest with you. It's just hard for me."

In international competition, Noah has represented France, and he was not happy with that nationalistic experience either.

"I'm not a very patriotic person, to be honest," he says. "I don't understand the whole flags, supporting flags. I'm more into supporting people."

Noah says his decision is independent of Colin Kaepernick's protests during the national anthem but wants to find a way to promote social justice on the court with his teammates.

"I think there's a lot of topics that definitely need to be more than addressed," he says. "I think it's a very important time right now. I think it's great athletes are taking a stand. But it has to be about more than that. This country's out of control. Kids killing kids. And it has nothing to do with, people are talking about the anthem but that's not the point. There are things that need to be fixed.

"I think there has to be more investment in the communities. These after-school programs are very important. There has to be more laws against gun control. Kids are getting access to automatic weapons. This is not normal. It's not normal and I know as soon as you talk about guns, people start looking at you crazy and stuff. But to me when you see the amount of school shootings and the accessibility of guns around the country and I see nothing being done about it, I really question our leadership."

Given those comments, Noah had an interesting word choice when discussing Knicks:

It also seems like his riff against war didn't dampen his mood on the court at West Point:

The Knicks open the preseason Tuesday in Houston.

-- Follow Jeffrey Eisenband on Twitter @JeffEisenband.