The Clemson football team's visit to the White House reportedly went well, with the team enjoying a unique fast-food spread while the White House was short-staffed during the partial government shutdown.
But, according to The Root, a large majority of the team's black players did not go on the visit, with some of them citing "racism" or the president's "divisive politics" as the reason.
"It wasn't like we had a team meeting or anything," said a Clemson player who wanted to remain anonymous. "Players were talking amongst each other but everybody was like: 'I'm not going to that.'"
Who stayed, who went?
The Clemson national championship roster had at least 57 black players, but only 15 of them attended the White House visit.
One of the players who didn't go, a junior, said it was mostly younger black players who were scared to get on the wrong side of the coaching staff who went.
"Not saying anything against the players who went, but if you look at who went — freshmen and people fighting for playing time— you'll see what I'm talking about," the junior player told The Root.
Clemson responds to the report
Clemson's associate vice president for strategic communication, Joe Galbraith, issued a statement to The Root in response to the site's reporting:
"We had 76 student-athletes (approximately two-thirds of the team) make the trip to D.C. For a variety of reasons, several players were not able to adjust schedules to make the trip. On the championship game roster, 26 players had already received their bachelor's degree, and had no planned obligations on campus beginning that week. Other student-athletes had class obligations as the spring semester began the week prior."
A Clemson sophomore player told The Root he wasn't buying that response.
"So, you think players just wanted to go to classes so bad?" he said. "They told us it was up to us. Folks just didn't want to go."
(H/T The Hill)