White House Visit Should Not Be Mandatory

Avianna Hoppes, sports writer

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Normally, when an American sports team wins a championship, the President of the United States invites them to the White House, and they accept the invitation. With a controversial president like Trump in office, that tradition is in jeopardy.

Teams first began visiting the White House in 1865 and, although players have been opting out of going to for many years, the number has increased dramatically. This is specifically because of Trump. For example, when the Chicago Cubs won the World Series in 2016, they purposely moved their White House visit with Obama four days prior to Trump being sworn in, once they found out he got elected. A number of other players and teams have decided not to go, such as Chris Long, Lindsey Vonn, and the entire 2017 Golden State Warriors roster.

Many athletes have faced criticism for not going, but they are well within their rights not to go. Although people say that it is an honor to be invited to the White House (which it is) and that athletes should not make it political, players should not be forced to go if they do not like Trump.

If a player strongly dislikes Trump, then they should not go just to go. Yes, it may be seen as a political move, but that is not the end of the world. If a player accepts the President’s invitation, then they are in essence agreeing with the President and agreeing with what he stands for. Since Trump is very controversial – his morals often called into question – players and coaches are hesitant to stand by his side and support him.  

Many athletes have received backlash for trying to mix sports and politics (which athletes skipping the White House visit is definitely political), but not going to is not going to affect anyone, except for that player and the president. Only bad things will happen if a person is forced to meet and honor someone they do not like, such as President Trump. Since many players have publicly criticized Trump prior to winning a championship, it would not make any sense for them to go and it might be hard for them to “fake it” if they have previously voiced their disapproval.

The players may be the ones getting criticized for not going, but that goes both ways. On numerous occasions, Trump has not invited or rescinded the invite simply because he does not like a player or team. If Trump wants to make championship teams visiting the White House non-political, then he needs to put his ego aside.

One solution is to let the team come to the White House, but they do not have to meet the president if they do not want to.

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