Ever since the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship in June, it’s been unclear whether the team would follow the tradition of sports champions visiting the White House (or whether they’d even be invited). All-Star guard Stephen Curry wants his team to forego the tradition as a form of protest against President Donald Trump.
What Curry said
“By not going, hopefully that will inspire some change in terms of what we tolerate in this country,” Curry said Friday.
The team is reportedly meeting today to make a unified decision by taking a vote, but Curry made his vote loud and clear.
“Just like in our country, every opinion counts and matters,” he said.
What do the others think?
Warriors head coach Steve Kerr has made no secret of his dislike for Trump, but he said he is open to the visit out of respect for the office of the president, and as a potential unifying gesture.
“I would want to talk to the team and entertain the idea of going out of respect for the institution, out of respect for the office itself, and maybe as a good gesture to the rest of the country that is so divided right now that maybe it’s like, hey, let’s actually, you know, try to do something that’s unifying, whether you like the person in the office or not,” Kerr said in June.
Kevin Durant has taken the opposite stance, saying in August that he didn’t want to go to the White House specifically because he does not respect the president.
This writer’s perspective
I’ve been an avid sports fan for as long as I can remember, which means I’ve seen dozens of teams visit the White House after championships. Never once did I look at that team and think that their presence meant they endorsed everything about the person in office at the time.
It’s just a formality. It used to be viewed as an honor. If I saw Steph Curry shaking hands with President Trump at the White House, I wouldn’t assume he supports the immigration ban or the Charlottesville comments, or whatever it is Curry opposes.
Just like I didn’t presume that Curry, an outspoken Christian, shared the same stance on LGBT issues as former president Barack Obama simply because they were hanging out working on their jump shot form.
Go to the White House, shake the president’s hand, smile for the camera and move on. There are more useful ways to protest issues than by making very public, but ultimately hollow stands like this one.