If the members of the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals get an invite to the White House, some of the team might skip the event. At least two Capital players have said they won’t be there if the team gets invited.
Washington defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in June in the Stanley Cup Finals, and it is tradition that the winning team gets to go to meet the President of the United States. Some, though have said they have no interest in being introduced to President Donald Trump.
Forward Brett Connolly told reporters that he didn’t think he would attend any ceremony at the White House, and said others might stay away as well.
“Personally, I don’t think I’m going to go,” Connolly said. “It has nothing to do with politics. For me, I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think there’ll be a few guys not going, too. Like I said, it has nothing to do with politics, it’s about what’s right and wrong, and we’ll leave it at that.”
Decision Made Early
In June, forward Devante Smith-Pelly was asked by a Canadian newspaper if he would go to the White House. Though the team had not closed out the series with the Golden Knights, they held a 3-1 lead, and celebration questions were starting to be asked of players. Smith-Pelly, who is one of two black players on the Capitals, said he would not go to the White House.
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly said of Trump in an interview with Postmedia. “Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with. It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.”
One player who probably would is captain Alex Ovechkin. He and President Trump have a mutual friend with Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. Ovechkin is a staunch supporter of Putin, and last year started a movement to support the Russian president.
Trend of Skipping White House
The Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles were disinvited by President Trump in June after he learned the team couldn’t promise that all players would stand with hand on heart for the national anthem.
When the team suggested sending a smaller delegation to the White House, the President bristled at the idea, saying, “The 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
Instead the President put on a patriotic display for Eagles fans, complete with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Ironically, Trump seemed to have trouble remembering the words to both the National Anthem and God Bless America. Video shows him bungling the words to both songs, then standing silent until each was concluded by the US Army Chorus.
Another team that took a pass on the White House invitation was the Golden State Warriors. After winning the NBA Championship in 2017, the team snubbed the President and instead went to an African-American Museum in the area with some kids.
Steph Curry told reporters that his views conflicted with the President’s.
“We don’t stand for basically what our president has — the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it,” Curry said. “And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”