A lot of athletes don't want to 'celebrate' their victories with a bigot like Trump.
The University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball team, which just won the 2019 NCAA Tournament, is refusing an invitation to visit Trump in the White House to celebrate the victory.
“No thanks Trump,” tweeted player De’Andre Hunter, after the team officially announced they would not make the trip.
The University of Virginia rebuke comes just a few days after Trump revisited one of the low points of his unpopular presidency: his praise for the pro-Confederate Nazi apologists at a Charlottesville, Virginia rally where one white nationalist murdered anti-racism activist Heather Heyer by driving his car over her.
Trump now claims that, despite the widespread condemnation he later received for the remarks, he actually responded "perfectly" when he called those Nazis and bigots "very fine people."
Before Trump, there was a long and bipartisan tradition of sports teams visiting the White House after winning national championships.
“President Barack Obama, a serious basketball fan, hosted many champions in the sport during his eight years in the White House,” the New York Times noted.
But the Cavaliers are just the latest champions to turn down the invitation because of Trump, largely based on his history of racism and other bigotry.
The Golden State Warriors, who have won two NBA championships since Trump was sworn in, publicly declined to visit him.
Many members of the Super Bowl champion team New England Patriots skipped meeting Trump at the White House. Safety Duron Harmon, who is black, said he thinks “they don’t want me in the White House,” adding that he would have loved to meet President Obama instead.
Players also passed on meeting Trump when the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl the previous year — and Trump got so mad that he canceled the invitation that had been offered.
One team, the 2017 NHL champions Pittsburgh Penguins, chose to accept Trump's invitation — but hid the visit from their social media accounts. The same team had publicly touted their visit with President Obama when they won the championship the year before.
Trump’s best-known sports commentary has been his sustained attacks on black NFL players for protesting police violence. He is so fearful of negative backlash from fans that he has never thrown out the first pitch for the Washington Nationals, something both Obama and Bush did.
No wonder athletes rarely want anything to do with Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.