The Philadelphia Eagles boycotted the White House by-and-large to the point President Donald J. Trump “revoked” the team’s White House visit on June 5th. He had a needless, empty event in its place where he made an ass out of himself. It’s no surprise that participants in the NBA Championship have stood up and said “no way” to a visit at the White House. It doesn’t matter who wins, they’re staying away.
There are too many reasons, both personal and standing up as public figures, for pro athletes to make this boycott move. Some sports fans may sour in reaction because they expect players to just submit and play the game, be the sport-figure and take what normally is the high-honor bestowed upon a champion by the Commander in Chief… But where is the honor coming from Donald Trump and his administration? There are too many acts of disrespect the population – be they minorities or immigrated citizens, the poor and working class, and so many others – that have created issues in society and have led to the protests of the administration and specifically The Donald.
So where do the Stanley Cup Finals teams, the Washington Capitals and Vegas Golden Knights, stand in all this?
Two teams built of a wide array of national and international talent are symbols of the globe and while there is a lot of international discontent (to put it lightly) toward the United States and where the Trump Administration has gone in diplomatic affairs, NHL players aren’t reacting or at least the hockey world isn’t acting like it’s part of the moment. This doesn’t just apply to the players; it applies to the media and the blogosphere. The mass of coverage found on Google about White House boycotts and the NHL are aimed at September 2017 when the then-champion Pittsburgh Penguins agreed to go to visit the President.
Maybe I’m missing the articles and locker room comments from players of either the Capitals or Golden Knights, but looking at Google News – there’s nothing direct on the subject. Nothing implying it’s a talked-about subject in Stanley Cup Finals coverage. That is a negative.
What makes it worse – at least for me – is the relationship between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin which may have a hand in the stolid state of things in the locker room for the Washington Capitals. I love Alex Ovechkin as a character and as a player, but I don’t take comfort in knowing he has a fan in Putin, is a friend of, and a public supporter of Putin. If Putin’s relationship with the two men is what helps lead to the Caps going in-full to the White House, it doesn’t reflect well on the team (or the NHL). In fact, Devante Smith-Pelly once again becomes a talking point and a target in participation. His color has already led to the wrong of noteworthy jeer this season (that resulted in the banishment of several fans from United Center in Chicago). Trump and race are at odds, to say the least, which is an ample part of the reasoning for other players in sports to boycott visitation.
I don’t know how to look at the symbolization of the NHL going to the White House while the rest of pro sports (and many in society) are showing discontent. A Stanley Cup championship White House visitation event will not carry as much weight in Canada, Sweden, the Czech Republic or other nations that the players originate from. It’s a different story in Russia with thanks to how things are going…
Here in America? Two franchises representing two American cities – one representing the nation’s capital itself – just going along with things when the Commander in Chief’s direction of the nation has put division, disarray and corruption on the forefront in society? Going along with things to accept the invitation when other pro sports teams in the nation turn away in response to the words and actions of the Dotard in Covfefe as if to send a message and stand with those sullied by him?
The disconnection it shows just doesn’t sit well with this fan. Social disconnect on display day in and day out by this administration has led to tougher times and the divisions (be they between colors, creeds, or countries). Sports teams reflect unity – those looking past differences, working together to achieve. That’s how society flows when it is at its best; as a united entity that seeks to achieve. That’s not how the current administration is operating. That’s why it’d be a lot wiser for the Capitals or Golden Knights to stand with the Philadelphia Eagles, Golden State Warriors/Cleveland Cavaliers and turn away from participating in a White House visit.
Game 5 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Finals is Thursday, June 7th, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Washington Capitals lead the series 3 games to 1.
Update: Thursday, June 7 at 8:07 AM
The proverbial silence of the Golden Knights / Capitals series the idea of visiting the White House came to an end Wednesday afternoon and Devante Smith-Pelly went on the record speaking of Trump. His mind is already made up regarding the idea of visitation if the Capitals should win Lord Stanley’s Cup.
I’d also like to touch on an issue some have taken to this entire discussion: Some do not want sports and politics to cross paths. Yet this