'Hey, Obama, come holler at me. We love you over here, man,' Duron Harmon, safety for the New England Patriots, said after winning this year's Super Bowl.
Several members of the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots have already announced they won't visit any White House celebration hosted by Trump. The players follow the now well-trodden path of athletes, and entire teams, who have chosen not be seen standing in the same room as Trump.
"Nah, man, they don't want me in the White House," Duron Harmon, safety for the Patriots, said after the 2019 Super Bowl. But when he was asked about possibly meeting former President Barack Obama, Harmon had a different response.
"That would be dope," he said. "Hey, Obama, come holler at me. We love you over here, man."
Devin McCourty and his twin brother, Jason McCourty, both members of the Patriots defense, also said they would skip a White House celebration. Devin McCourty was on the 2017 Patriots team, which also won the Super Bowl, and skipped a White House visit that year as well. At that time, McCourty said, "I don't feel accepted in the White House. . . . With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won't."
The White House has a long tradition of hosting championship sports teams to be congratulated by the president. However, Trump's racist and polarizing rhetoric has led to several high-profile snubs by athletes spanning several sports. Multiple members of last year's Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles announced they would skip a White House visit. In a petulant fit, Trump rescinded the invitation for the entire team.
In 2018, rather than visit Trump in the White House, the Golden State Warriors basketball team took local students on a trip to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. At the time, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said that under different circumstances he would have been honored to visit the White House. "Our differences in terms of our team and organization's values are so dramatically different. I'm talking in terms of inclusion, civil discourse and dignity," Kerr said at the time.
The next year, the Warriors won another championship and skipped the White House again, meeting with President Obama instead.
Olympic skater Adam Rippon, the University of South Carolina women's basketball team, and the University of North Carolina men's basketball team have all skipped White House celebrations.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins won hockey's Stanley Cup championship, they were so ashamed at meeting with Trump that they did not promote the White House ceremony on their social media platforms.
The Patriots players join a long list of athletes who don't want anything to do with Trump.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.