Within hours of the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA championship, there was a report that the team had unanimously decided not to attend a White House ceremony in their honor.
This was walked back a little by the Warriors, but without a emphatic rebuke it would appear there’s some smoke to this fire. (It should be said that coach Steve Kerr is clearly not a fan of President Trump.)
So the question was posed to the Pittsburgh Penguins: Will the team attend a celebration of their second-straight Stanley Cup championship at the Trump White House, after visiting the Obama White House the last two times they won?
“The Pittsburgh Penguins would never turn down a visit to the White House and, if invited, we would go as a team,” team CEO/president David Morehouse said Tuesday in a prepared statement.
… “We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for,” he said. “Any opposition or disagreement with a president’s policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways.”
As Molinari notes, the Penguins have some prominent Democratic Party supporters in their hierarchy. “Owner Ron Burkle is a major donor to Democratic causes, and Morehouse worked in the Clinton administration and on Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign,” he wrote.
Then again, while Pittsburgh is a blue city, Western Pennsylvania is decidedly Trump country. Taking a stand as an organization, no matter management’s political leanings, would potentially be bad for business. Whereas the Golden State Warriors would likely not suffer any significant backlash.
Naturally, one wonders if any of the Penguins players would conscientiously object to being a prop in a photo opportunity with President Trump – whose policies in office have been divisive, to put it kindly – and skip the ceremony. (Although we suspect Malkin shows up.)
Please recall in 2012 when Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, a tea party supporter opposed to the policies of President Obama, skipped their Stanley Cup celebration at the White House.
Like we said then with Thomas: Good on any athlete that puts their own reputation on the line, speaks out of turn and takes a moment of fundamental political propaganda to call attention to issues for which they’re passionate. Or simply to declare their opposition to the current direction of the nation.
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