Penguins To Visit White House, Warriors Will Decide Pending Possible Invitation
The Pittsburgh Penguins have accepted an invitation to the White House to celebrate their second straight Stanley Cup victory, which they secured with a 2-0 win over the Nashville Predators in Game 6 of the NHL Finals on Sunday night.
Penguins to visit White House, Warriors have yet to decide
“The Pittsburgh Penguins would never turn down a visit to the White House and, if invited, we would go as a team,” team CEO and president David Morehouse said in a statement to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Tuesday.
Although Penguins owner Ron Burkle has been a Democratic donor and Morehouse worked for the Bill Clinton Administration and for Al Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign, Morehouse added that celebrating at the White House does not necessarily means the organizations also agrees with the political stance of the current leader, President Donald J. Trump.
“We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for,” Morehouse said. “Any opposition or disagreement with a president’s policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways.”
The Penguins visited the White House during former President Barack Obama’s tenure the previous two times the team won the Stanley Cup, in 2009 and 2016.
Pittsburgh typically votes Democratic, although most of Western Pennsylvania voted for Trump in the general election in November 2016.
Unlike the 2017 NHL champions, this year’s NBA winners have not yet officially decided whether or not they will make the trip to Washington, D.C.
The Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 of the NBA finals on Monday night for their second national title in three years, and have said they will visit the White House depending on whether or not they receive an actual invitation.
“Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the Warriors said in a statement. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”
Per Warriors: We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 13, 2017
The statement follows a tweet from CNBC’s Josh Brown, who claimed the Warriors had unanimously agreed to skip a White House visit should they be invited to attend this year.
“NBA champion Warriors skipping the White House visit, as a unanimous team decision per reports,” Brown wrote. However, those “reports” could not be located.
Warriors coach Steve Kerr, along with several of his players like two-time MVP Stephen Curry, have been very vocal about their disdain of Trump.
One Tuesday report from CSN Bay Area’s Monte Poole claimed Kerr and the Warriors had stated in November that they would decline an invitation to the White House should they win the NBA championship.
“Kerr told NBCSportsBayArea.com last November that if the Warriors were to win the NBA Finals, he would not accept an invitation to visit the White House,” Poole wrote. “Those were Kerr’s feelings then, but he felt it would be presumptuous to express them publicly during the middle of a season. Now that the Warriors have the championship, taking out the Cavaliers in five games, don’t expect that to change.”
The Warriors visited the White House in February 2016 under then-President Obama after winning the 2015 NBA Championship. The MVP of that year’s Finals, Andre Iguodala, has already stated he refuses to make the trip to D.C. again this year because of who the President is.
“Hell nah,” Iguodala told USA Today, adding that much could change between now and whenever a visit might occur.
“We’re going to do what our leader [Stephen Curry] does,” he said. “I think we handle [the White House situation] when it gets there. I mean, it may be different. There might be somebody different in [office]. That’s a realistic thing to say though, right? So you don’t know what’s going to happen.”
Given how anti-Trump Curry is — the two-time MVP vehemently denounced Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s description of the President as an “asset” — it seems likely the Dubs will not visit the White House.
Iguodala continued: “Maybe [Trump] doesn’t [invite us] and we don’t go, or we don’t say anything and make a big deal of it, and he doesn’t make a big deal of it and we go our separate ways,” he said. “Y’all might write about it. I might call him and say, ‘If they ask, just say our schedules conflicted.’ And then if y’all write something, we’ll say, ‘Fake News.'”
The 33-year-old Warriors small forward, who is black, cited racism as the main reason for his personal refusal to attend the White House celebration. Iguodala claims Trump and his administration have only healed the racial divide since they took over.
“We all know [that it is getting worse],” Iguodala, an All-Star said regarding the subject of racism. “I think it’s just the ignorance, the convenient ignorance. [It’s] not to say that people aren’t aware, but they just don’t want to address it [because] they don’t want to be attached to it so they ignore a lot of the bad things that happen. I feel like there are actions that occur, that continue the dividing of everyone. And I think that’s done on purpose.”
The Warriors’ congressional representative, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said the team was welcome to come visit Capitol Hill to celebrate their NBA title.
“The Warriors’ leadership is inspiring,” Pelosi tweeted. “I’d be honored to welcome the team to the U.S. Capitol. #DubNation.”
Four days after the Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA Finals, the team released a video on Twitter showing a phone call between Obama and head coach Tyronn Lue, in which the then-president jokingly told Lue to supervise his players because they were very rowdy during their victory parade in Cleveland. Obama jokingly told Lue to instruct his player to put a shirt on.
OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 12: Kevin Durant #35 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates after being named Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player after defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 in Game 5 to win the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California.
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