- Sports and Recreation
We Are The Champions
Been there, done that
It has become a tradition for championship teams in America to visit the White House and meet the president as part of the victory celebration. It has always been something that champions look forward to. But this year things are different. A man was elected to be president of this country even though he spewed hate and divisiveness throughout his campaign. He opened his campaign by offending Latin Americans. He was caught on a recording bragging about how being rich gave him the right to molest women. A Black woman was attacked, shoved and punched at one of his campaign rallies. Never in my lifetime have I witnessed a more controversial person elected to the highest office in the land.
With each elected president, you are going to have nearly half of the country dislike him because they wanted their guy to win. But like them or not, they all TRIED to show some sort of respect to their detractors. The current office holder does just the opposite by publicly ridiculing them and then will refuse to offer any form of apology, even when he is clearly wrong. President Obama being the first African American president was naturally going to be one of the most hated to hold the office just based on that fact alone. It didn't matter how great of a leader he was, people just hated him because of the color of his skin. I often referred to him as the Jackie Robinson of presidents because of the direct comparison of hatred Jackie received despite of how great a baseball player he was.
One thing most White people will never understand is how Black people perceive racism. They can tell you that a situation is racist, but Whites will try to convince them that it isn't. Notice how I said most don't understand. The one industry that has full comprehension is the athletic community. The fact that they live with their Black teammates for half of the year means they see things the average White person won't see. Even though they see the injustice, rarely do they speak up about it. So when the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, they decided as a team that they were not going to visit the White House because of what this president stands for.
The president tried to disrespect Stephen Curry for his refusal to visit the White House by saying he rescinded his invitation. First of all, how do you rescind an invitation that has been responded to and turned down? Actually, this was a team decision made earlier in the year in opposition to the president's political agenda. The president feeling hurt by the rejection tried to point out how visiting the White House is not only a tradition, but an honor. What the president failed to realize is the Golden State Warriors had just visited the White House two years ago. In fact, coach Steve Kerr had visited several times and met every president dating back to President Reagan. Here is an except from his interview with Sports Illustrated reporter Chris Bullard.
"First off, I’m pretty sure Steph wasn’t “hesitating”. He made it clear he wouldn’t go. Second, as I joked to the media Saturday, it was like the president was trying to break up with us before we broke up with him. Regardless, it’s a shame. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet President Reagan, both Bushes, Clinton, and Obama. I didn’t agree with all of them, but it was easy to set politics aside because each possessed an inherent respect for the office, as well as the humility that comes with being a public servant in an incredible position of power, representing 300 million people. And that’s the problem now. In his tweet to Steph, Trump talked about honoring the White House but, really, isn’t it you who must honor the White House, Mr. President? And the way to do that is through compassion and dignity and being above the fray. Not causing the fray. Would we have gone? Probably not. The truth is we all struggled with the idea of spending time with a man who has offended us with his words and actions time and again. But I can tell you one thing: it wouldn’t have been for the traditional ceremony, to shake hands and smile for cameras. Internally, we’d discussed whether it’d be possible to just go and meet as private citizens and have a serious, poignant discussion about some of the issues we’re concerned about. But he’s made it hard for any of us to actually enter the White House, because what’s going on is not normal. It’s childish stuff: belittling people and calling them names."
Now when you consider that the New England Patriots did visit the White House and Tom Brady refused to go and the president said nothing derogatory towards him, it is obvious that his comments toward Curry were racially motivated. So when Kerr met with his team, he recognized that there was nothing good that could come from the visit. Basically, the Golden State Warriors were telling the president that while visiting the White House may be a great experience, meeting you will not.