Should athletes visit the White House?

Winning a championship in pro sports is like being on top of the world. The perks are endless.

From citywide parades to talk shows, champions live like rock stars. One of the highest
honours of all is visiting the White House and meeting the president of the United States.

Now, things are different.

Today, it’s almost impossible to avoid President Donald Trump, even in the world of sports. America is divided on whether or not athletes should visit Trump at the White House. One side says it’s their obligation, another side condemns visitors. It’s a rabbit hole.

The backlash of absence

Megan Rapinoe, star player for the United States Women’s Soccer team and the World Cup Champion team declined a trip to the White House before the World Cup was even over.

Donald Trump responded to Rapinoe, tweeting, “Megan should never disrespect our Country,
the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her and the team. Be
proud of the Flag that you wear [sic].”

When Trump tweets, his supporters follow. Rapinoe and her team faced backlash, as they were
labeled un-American, haters of the country they represent.

In the National Basketball Association, none of their championship teams have been to the
White House since Barrack Obama left office. In 2018, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and
Kevin Durant agreed not to go to the White House, no matter who won the title. The NBA
Champion Toronto Raptors have yet to even be invited.

The backlash of attendance

With all the scrutiny athletes get for declining the president, they get just as much backlash for
attending.

In 2017, the Pittsburgh Penguins of the National Hockey League won back-to-back Stanley Cups and decided to visit president Trump. Chaos ensued. Sidney Crosby in particular was singled out for not being active in political movements.

Athletes fighting for a cause is beautiful and should be encouraged. On the other hand, quiet
and reserved athletes like Crosby shouldn’t be forced to make a statement if they don’t have
one.

A good reason for and against visiting should be respected. You’ll be hated either way.

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