After serving as the white supremacist president that eternally merged politics and sports, the ramifications of Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office are still affecting American traditions.
Trump is why it’s been more than 1,620 days since the NBA’s champions have visited the White House, which is a stat that involves LeBron James, as his 2016 Cavaliers team were the last champs to visit the South Lawn. The 2020 Lakers were supposed to be the first to meet President Biden. But, due to the Trump Administration’s repeated failures when it came to having any type of plan for dealing with a global pandemic, ESPN is reporting that scheduling conflicts and COVID-19 protocols will prevent the Lakers from visiting during their time in D.C. when they play the Wizards later this month.
Can you imagine the tweets we would have gotten from Trump? Oh yeah, he’s still banned.
James, along with Steph Curry, Megan Rapinoe, and many others in the sports world were in the crosshairs of Trump during his presidency, as he just couldn’t understand why so many athletes and teams didn’t want to be used as props in a photo-op for a man that stood for hate, cruelty, and reckless behavior.
“I think the President has made it pretty clear he’s going to try to divide us, all of us in this country, for political gain,” said Golden State coach Steve Kerr in 2018. “So it’s just the way it is. I think we all look forward to the day when we can go back to just having a celebration of athletic achievement and celebrate Americans for their achievement, their good deeds.”
In June of 2017, the then-148-year tradition of championship teams visiting the White House was forever broken, as the custom became a burden rather than an honor under Trump. While Clemson happily went to the White House after winning the national championship, the Warriors started the trend of NBA teams passing on the opportunity, or sometimes being uninvited altogether. The Pittsburgh Penguins wound up making the trip that year, while former North Carolina head coach Roy Williams was hesitant to make any promises after his team won the NCAA Tournament.
“Let me think on it,” he said back then. “Again, I don’t know if we’re going to get invited. I really don’t.”
The Tar Heels never made it. In fact, a men’s college basketball team hasn’t been to the White House since the 2016 Villanova team visited Obama before he left office. And when the Wildcats won it again in 2018 when Trump was in office, they weren’t even invited. Virginia declined their invite the following year, and we’re still waiting to see what will happen with Baylor. Oddly enough, in 2019, Baylor’s women’s basketball team became the first women’s team of any sport that Trump honored.
With COVID-19 serving as a legit obstacle that could keep more teams from visiting the White House, it does feel as though some sense of normalcy is returning, as a simple American sports tradition doesn’t feel like a political statement anymore. However, that doesn’t mean that it will prevent hypocritical idiots like Brett Favre from believing that sports and politics don’t mix.
“I know when I turn on a game, I want to watch a game. I want to watch players play and teams win, lose, come from behind,” Favre recently said on “The Andrew Klavan Show” on The Daily Wire. “I want to watch all the important parts of the game, not what’s going on outside of the game, and I think the general fan feels the same way.”
“I can’t tell you how many people have said to me, ‘I don’t watch anymore; it’s not about the game anymore.’ And I tend to agree.”
Here’s a link to photos of Favre visiting the White House in 1997 after the Packers won the Super Bowl. He was fine with politics and sports then. It’s always amazing to see that some people only get upset about the marriage of sports and politics when it highlights the atrocities that Black people continue to endure.