Hours after winning the NBA championship, the Golden State Warriors answered the question about whether, after criticism of President Trump by their coach and one of their star players, they will visit the White House.
The answer? That they will decide “when and if” they receive an invitation. So far — and it’s very early — they have not.
“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.”
The statement comes after a tweet from CNBC’s Josh Brown, who wrote, “NBA champion Warriors skipping the White House visit, as a unanimous team decision per reports.” Those reports could not be found.
A visit to the White House likely would come the next time the Warriors, a Western Conference team, play the Washington Wizards. The schedule for next season has not yet been released.
The Penguins, who won their second consecutive Stanley Cup on Sunday night, know what their RSVP would say.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins would never turn down a visit to the White House and, if invited, we would go as a team,” David Morehouse, the team’s CEO and president, 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 Clinton Administration and for Al Gore during his 2000 presidential campaign, Morehouse added that celebrating at the White House has little to do with its occupant.
“We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for,” he said. “Any opposition or disagreement with a president’s policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways.”
The Warriors and Penguins are the first champions since the New England Patriots to consider whether to visit the White House. Patriots owner Robert Kraft is close to Trump and most members of the team made the trip, although Martellus Bennett and others did not. Nor did Tom Brady, who cited a schedule conflict. It is not clear whether the North Carolina men’s basketball team will go to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., given that Coach Roy Williams ripped the president’s Twitter habits during the ACC tournament. “You know, our president tweets out more bull — than anybody I’ve ever seen,” Williams said. During the NCAA tournament, he preferred not to jinx his team by talking about it. And after the Tar Heels had won, he was more respectful of the honor, saying, “The office of the presidency of the United States is the most fantastic place you can be. I know one thing. We’re putting up a nice banner in the Smith Center that’s hard to get.”
A’ja Wilson, who led the South Carolina women’s basketball team to the national title, and her coach, Dawn Staley, planned to revel in the moment. “I’ve never really been to the White House. It should be exciting to go with this group of girls,” Wilson said in April. “We’re going to have fun, so I’m excited. Honestly, I’m just going to go and enjoy the moment, just take it all in. This is probably a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why not enjoy it?”
On Monday, the Clemson football team made its appearance. Now, there are two more teams.
The question surrounding the NBA champion’s intent began long before the Finals were decided. Warriors Coach Steve Kerr was outspokenly critical of the president’s travel ban, later calling Trump a “blowhard” and saying he was “ill-suited” for the office. Stephen Curry famously disagreed when Kevin Plank of Under Armour, a company that has signed Curry to an endorsement deal, called Trump an “asset.” Said Curry, a frequent golfing partner of former president Barack Obama: “I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.’ ” Plank later explained to Curry that he meant that Trump would be good for business when Curry sought context for the remark and an assurance that Plank didn’t support Trump’s social agenda.
If the Warriors either choose not to go to the White House or are not invited, they have another option. Their congressional representative, Nancy Pelosi, invited them to swing by her house just a few blocks over on Pennsylvania Avenue. “The Warriors’ leadership is inspiring,” she tweeted. “I’d be honored to welcome the team to the U.S. Capitol. #DubNation.”
Penguins to visit White House; Warriors will decide ‘when and if’ there’s an invitation – Washington Post