The 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors pushed back against reports Tuesday that they had decided not to visit President Donald Trump‘s White House, a decision that would break decades of tradition for American sports teams.
“We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary,” the team said in a statement.
The statement knocked down reports on social media that the team had unanimously decided not to visit the White House. The Warriors, who beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 on Monday night to win their second NBA championship in the last three years, visited the White House in 2015 when former President Barack Obama was in office.
Several Warriors players, including point guard Stephen Curry and head coach Steve Kerr, have spoken out against Trump’s policies and rhetoric. A number of New England Patriots players opted not to visit Trump’s White House in protest after they won the Super Bowl in February. The Patriots were the first team to visit Trump during his presidency, and Trump hosted the NCAA football champion Clemson Tigers earlier this week.
“I agree with that description,” Curry quipped. “If you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who represents San Francisco, which neighbors the team’s Oakland, Calif., facility, seemed to embrace reports of the Warriors’ decision before the team poured cold water on them.
Championship visits to the White House became a regular occurrence under former President Ronald Reagan. Over the years, a number of players — including basketball legend Michael Jordan — have opted out of the traditional visit for a number of reasons. For some, like Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens, it’s a political calculus. He skipped a 2013 visit in disagreement with Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood.