An invitation to the White House is intended to be an honor, and for many people over the years it has been exactly that.
But now what some consider to be a glorified photo op for athletes and others has become political — and the WNBA champions just upped that ante.
Fox News reported that the Seattle Storm, who swept the Washington Mystics this week to win their third title, haven’t even received an invitation to go to the White House yet but have already made their feelings clear. They have no intention of accepting if the offer is extended.
She responded with an adamant “No.”
She did add that she doesn’t even expect an invite from the President.
— Alex Rozier (@RozierReports) September 13, 2018
Star point guard Sue Bird gave multiple reasons why the team would refuse. One involved the fact that the Storm players “pay attention.”
What do they pay attention to? She referenced the situations with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx and the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
According to Fox News, the Lynx, last year’s WNBA champions, did not receive a White House invite. The invitation to the Warriors, given after they won the 2017 NBA Finals, was withdrawn after star point guard Stephen Curry said he didn’t want to visit the White House.
“At this point, it doesn’t even really need to be discussed,” Bird explained to ESPN. “It’s come up.
“We paid attention to what happened with Minnesota not getting invited. Everyone knew when everything happened with Steph Curry and LeBron (James) on social media, all that stuff. We all pay attention and we watch.
“So it wasn’t an actual conversation where we sat down and said, ‘Hey guys, what do you want to do if this happens?’ First of all, we wouldn’t have, because you can’t do that until you win. You don’t want any bad juju.”
She added that the team was unified on the matter. “But I think it’s safe to say we all kind of were on the same page with that,” she said.
Bird didn’t stop with citing what happened with other teams as excuses. She also told ESPN the invitation has now lost its luster.
“I’ve been really fortunate to go, and it’s exciting,” said Bird, who has won three WNBA championships, two NCAA titles and four Olympic gold medals. “You’re going to the White House. I remember first walking into the room to meet President (Barack) Obama and the aura. … It’s insane.
“Now, that’s not what the case is anymore. It doesn’t feel exciting. Nobody wants to go.
“It’s totally changed. And that’s disappointing, because it used to be, like I said, something that most athletes would look forward to.”
Bird was also asked about it by KING-TV in Seattle, and she had another excuse for the local station. “I’m sure (President Donald Trump) is going to say we’re not invited anyway, so it all works out well,” she said.
Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird reiterated Friday that the team's players would not have interest in visiting the White House if an invitation were extended to the WNBA's new champions.https://t.co/8glkJwu8fX
— ESPN Women's Hoops (@ESPN_WomenHoop) September 15, 2018
But Bird is not the only team member who has publicly expressed an unwillingness to go to the White House, if an offer were extended.
Fox News noted that starting center Natasha Howard said she would decline. Shooting guard Jewell Loyd said she would refuse as well.
“For what we stand for in Seattle, and what we stand for in the league, I think it’s pretty evident that we don’t want to go,” she said. “So thanks for the non-invite.”
But not everyone was outright against accepting. KING-TV reported that Storm forward and league MVP Breanna Stewart might be willing to go. “Honestly, I don’t know,” she said.
Stewart noted that it would ultimately be a team decision. “I don’t know if we’d lean one way or another,” she said.
The shame of it is that public refusals have been issued before the team was even invited. Why would anyone invite anyone to anything if the person has publicly stated he or she wouldn’t accept anyway? What is President Trump supposed to do now, beg for a chance to honor the Storm?
The Seattle Storm, newly crowned Champions of the @WNBA, say they will not go to the White House if invited…
I bet Trump will lose a ton of sleep over this one.
— CHIZ 🇺🇸 (@CHIZMAGA) September 15, 2018
The honor of achievement being publicly recognized by the White House on behalf of all of America, it seems, is no longer a special moment of personal pride for many athletes. It is now a means of scoring political points with the left by essentially slighting President Trump with a refusal — even when the offer was never even extended.
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