Sports

‘No one wants the invite anyway’: Why some athletes don't want to visit Trump

The jersey of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is raised in the crowd at the "Celebration of America" event at the White House on Tuesday. The Super Bowl winners were to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but he canceled the meeting Monday.
The jersey of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is raised in the crowd at the "Celebration of America" event at the White House on Tuesday. The Super Bowl winners were to meet President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but he canceled the meeting Monday. AP

The trend of sports championship teams visiting the White House is becoming just as much about who doesn't show up as about who does.

The Philadelphia Eagles, who won their first Super Bowl in February, were scheduled to visit President Donald Trump on Tuesday, but Trump canceled the gathering Monday due to talk that many players would not show.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!</p>&mdash; Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) <a href="https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1003832766511894528?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 5, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

The president held a "Celebration of America" event instead.

Trump's decision to rescind the invite didn't sit well with the NFL players' union.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="und" dir="ltr"><a href="https://t.co/OweHva9Fds">pic.twitter.com/OweHva9Fds</a></p>&mdash; NFLPA (@NFLPA) <a href="https://twitter.com/NFLPA/status/1003985222722031617?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">June 5, 2018</a></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

On Tuesday, NBA superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry said if their team wins the Finals, they will not attend — if invited.

"I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway," James said of his Cleveland Cavaliers and of the Golden State Warriors, who lead the series 2-0.

"I agree with Bron," Curry said later Tuesday, adding that the Warriors, like they did last year, would have to discuss how they would proceed if they win the title. Golden State players and staff were going to decide what to do, but Trump revoked the invitation before the team could accept or decline it.

"Every team that’s won a championship since then has gone through that," Curry said.

Since Trump took office in January 2017, he's been visited by the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Penguins, Houston Astros and two college football teams. While some teams have declined the invitation, the current WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx say they were never invited by Trump for what would be their fourth trip.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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