Olympic skater Adam Rippon is latest champion athlete to boycott Trump


Hosting sports champions at the White House used to be a simple and non-controversial event. Under Trump, not so much.

World champion American athletes didn't use to line up to announce how they were refusing to visit the White House because of their open disdain for the president of the United States. But under Trump, that's become the new normal.

Following the Super Bowl LII, several members of the Philadelphia Eagles said they'd refuse any White House invite. And now with Olympic medals being awarded in at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, ice skater and Olympic star Adam Rippon is doing the same.

After winning a bronze medal in team figure skating, the openly gay U.S. figure skater said Sunday he would skip the Olympians’ White House visit in protest of what he sees as homophobia in the Trump administration.

“I have no desire to go to the White House," Rippon said on Sunday. "But I would like to do something to help my community. I have kind of spoken out a lot and I’d like to do something positive and not just stay at home.”

Rippon's planned White House snub comes after he publicly called out Mike Pence's homophobic past. Last month, Pence’s staff requested a one-on-one conversation with Rippon in an attempt to blunt the figure skater’s criticisms. But Rippon turned him down.

As governor of Indiana, Pence signed into law the so-called “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBT citizens.

“My mom always taught me to stand up for what I believe in,” Rippon told NBC following his Olympic competition.

Also on Sunday, Philadelphia Eagle and Super Bowl champ Malcolm Jenkins reiterated that accepting a White House visit from Trump is "not worth my time."

“This is a celebratory event where we come, the president comes in, shakes a couple hands, takes a picture and leaves. And I’m just not interested in that," Jenkins told CNN.

Jenkins is part of the Players Coalition, a movement by NFL athletes to take on systemic issues and injustices facing Americans of color.

“I’d rather spend my time working with whoever on these issues that we’ve been fighting for," stressed Jenkins. "That’s just my personal decision.”

Hosting sports champions at the White House used to be one of the simplest and non-controversial events any president oversees. But Trump has still managed to blow that up, most notably with his months-long denigration of the NFL and its roster of black athletes who have silently protested systemic racial injustice.

In October, the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners of the Stanley Cup, visited Trump's White House. But unlike their previous visit with President Obama, they didn't bother sharing any photographs of the meeting on their various social media platforms.

In one of Trump’s petulant Twitter tantrums back in September, he publicly withdrew a White House invitation to Steph Curry of the NBA champs Golden State Warriors.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers responded by pointing out that Curry had already said he wasn’t going, and called Trump out as a “bum.”

“Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!” James declared.

More and more world champion athletes are endorsing that claim.