The Golden State Warriors are reportedly not sticking to sports. According to CNBC’s Josh Brown, the NBA champs have unanimously declined an invitation to President Donald Trump’s White House, which should come as no surprise to those who have followed the left-leaning franchise the last few months.
However, ESPN’s Darren Rovell reported Tuesday that the team has yet to make a decision.
"Today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary," the Warriors said in a statement, per ESPN.
In April, many Patriots players, including Trump supporter Tom Brady, skipped the team’s White House visit. New England was the first professional championship team to visit during Trump’s presidency, and the depleted attendance made national news. More than two dozen Patriots players did not attend the ceremony, which were among the most popular events during sports nut Barack Obama’s administration.
While the NFL tends to lean right, the NBA has mostly stood in opposition to Trump, going back to the 2016 campaign. Warriors coach Steve Kerr has been among the most vocal sports figures against the administration’s policies, along with San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy. Some NBA players also boycotted Trump hotel properties during the season, and Warriors star Steph Curry has also been critical of the President.
When Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called Trump an "asset" earlier this year, UA athlete Curry said, "I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et.’"
Kerr’s comments have been even stronger and would make for an awkward meeting with Trump.
"My personal opinion is Bobby Knight’s way smarter than Donald Trump," Kerr said in May. "Bobby Knight was brilliant in a lot of ways. So there was some real foundation in terms of knowing and coaching the game. But he was a bully, so … I think being a bully doesn’t work today, or at least it doesn’t work coaching. The modern coach has to be much more communicative, flexible, aware, conscientious, all those things.
"Frankly, I think it’s why Trump couldn’t be more ill-suited to be President, because he’s a blowhard. You don’t see some of the qualities you talk about, the resilience, the ability to communicate, the compassion. None of that. But in the old days, a lot of great coaches who maybe didn’t have those, there was still a fiber there, whatever it was. To be a great leader, there have to be some qualities in there.
"Has anyone ever thought that Donald Trump was a great leader?"
Though the Warriors have yet to confirm their plans, the Clemson football team attended its championship ceremony at the White House this week.
"Nowadays everybody tries to make everything political," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "This isn’t a political trip. This isn’t a fundraiser for a certain party or candidate. This is a celebration of what our team achieved last year. It’s been a national tradition for a long, long time."
The White House has regularly invited college and pro championship teams each year since Ronald Reagan was in office, but now that sports and politics have become so closely entwined, the Warriors would be the first team to flat-out reject the invitation.
It remains to be seen if other teams follow suit.