Visiting the White House after winning a title is a sports tradition. But with Donald Trump as President, some coaches and athletes have said they would turn down such an invitation.
SB Nation sums it up well:
While Trump has plenty of supporters in sports (we’re looking at you Curt Schilling), there obviously are plenty of detractors, too.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of those people. Following the election, he said this to the San Antonio Express-News. Do you think he’d visit the White House if the Spurs win over the next four years?
“I’m just sick to my stomach. Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic.… The fact that people can just gloss that over and start talking about the transition team, and we’re all gonna be Kumbaya now and try to make the country good without talking about about any of those things. … That’s disgusting. … I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, how disenfranchised they might feel. And for anyone in those groups that voted for him, it’s just beyond my comprehension how they ignore all that. And so, my final conclusion is, my big fear is we are Rome.”
The Nation’s Dave Zirin, not all that surprisingly, says athletes shouldn’t visit Trump’s White House:
Sports is used to wash political leaders of sin through the presence of athletic glory. To visit the White House under a Donald Trump presidency is to normalize a presidency that is anything but normal. It’s to perfume an administration that loudly celebrates torture, a Muslim registry, environmental catastrophe, bigotry, and kicking people off of their healthcare, condemning them to death. The only proper response is resistance.
The New York Daily News’ Ebenezer Samuel isn’t exactly a Trump fan, but he thinks athletes should keep the tradition of visiting the White House after winning a championship:
At least some teams should make that visit, if Trump extends that invitation, because, as ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith pointed out on “First Take” on Monday, the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry and Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and so many others just might be able to make a positive impact on Trump’s perceptions of minorities and minority issues. No such impact can happen if minorities, legitimately frustrated, only turn their backs on the president-elect and refuse to turn around. And while it often seems as if Trump is completely blind and tone-deaf to issues of diversity and social justice, if athletes ignore him, he’ll never have a chance to see what Obama saw Monday in the Cubs, whose roster includes players from six different countries and 20 different states.
What do you think? Should coaches and athletes go the White House after winning a title no matter who is President? Why or why not?