After repeatedly being turned down by the world’s best professional athletes, many of whom want nothing to do with Donald Trump, the White House has failed to extend an invitation to at least one national championship team.
As Time Magazine noted, the South Carolina Gamecocks women’s basketball team, which captured the program’s first national title in April, has yet to hear from the White House with a customary invite to meet the president. And head coach Dawn Staley isn’t exactly expecting that to change.
“Some things…transpired over the last few months,” said Staley when asked why her squad hasn’t made the trip to Washington, D.C. “I haven’t talked to anyone about it. I got bigger fish to fry than worry about an invitation.”
When asked after her team’s 67-55 win over Mississippi State in April whether the team would visit the White House, Staley said yes. “It’s what national champions do,” she told reporters.
That was certainly the case for years under the Obama administration and virtually every administration since the 19th century. But since Donald Trump took office, teams have been far more reluctant to associate themselves with an avowed bigot.
The Golden State Warriors were the latest professional sports franchise to turn down an invite to the White House. Stars Kevin Durant and Steph Curry separately announced their plans to skip any trip by the team, to which Donald Trump responded like a whiny toddler by rescinding his initial invitation.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
The North Carolina Tar Heels—the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball champions—were quite conveniently unable to find a date that worked with their schedules. Even the New England Patriots, the professional sports franchise with arguably the closest ties to Donald Trump, made headlines when several star players—including quarterback Tom Brady, who fancies himself a friend of the president—couldn’t be bothered to appear at the White House.
Dozens of other teams and sports stars have similarly vowed not to partake in any White House photo-op while Donald Trump occupies the oval office. LeBron James, arguably the greatest player in NBA history, has been a vocal critic of the current administration, as have fellow NBA stars like Chris Paul and Draymond Green and NFL stars like Richard Sherman and Lesean McCoy.
The feeling is increasingly mutual. While millions of American citizens were suffering without drinkable water or electricity, their president was engaged in a Twitter flame war with NFL stars who had the audacity to protest the kind of institutionalized racism that Donald Trump has embraced.