Red Sox Set to Meet at White House Next Week After Some Players Reject Invite
Some members of the Championship team will visit the president at the White House despite a few - including Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. - who rejected the invite
Despite a few key Red Sox players who rejected President Trump’s invitation to the White House after winning the the 2018 World Series, some of the team members will still be making the trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The White House announced on Friday morning that the Championship team will still meet with the president next Thursday, May 9, in the White House Rose Garden.
According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, among those team members who will not meet with Trump to celebrate their World Series win is David Price — who was the franchise’s star pitcher during their championship run over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018, World Series American League MVP Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Pitcher Hector Velazquez, 30, cited the tension between the president and Mexico, largely spurred on by Trump’s handling of undocumented immigrants, for his decision to decline the White House invitation.
“I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the president has said a lot of stuff about Mexico,” Velazquez told MassLive.com via a translator. “And I have a lot of people in Mexico that are fans of me, that follow me. And I’m from there. So I would rather not offend anyone over there.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has publicly criticized Trump, namely for the president’s slow response when sending aid to his native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year. But after the team won the World Series, Cora confirmed in December that he’ll be accompanying the team to the White House, and would refrain from any “embarrassing” controversy during their meeting with Trump.
“I’m gonna use my platform the right way,” Cora told MassLive at the time. “I’m not going to embarrass anybody. Actually, I’m gonna represent 4 million people from back home the right way when we go there.”
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy previously said players are free to skip the ceremony at their own discretion, according to the Washington Post.
“Like in the past, it’s an invitation,” Kennedy told the publication. “It’s not a mandatory, command performance. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get the recognition they deserve for a world championship.”
The tradition of professional sports teams visiting the White House after winning a championship has become a controversial topic during Trump’s presidency, as players and their organizations — affecting nearly every major American sports league — have had to address whether they would be accepting an invitation or not.
Sometimes, teams have even been disinvited to the White House.
After the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA championship, Trump preemptively rescinded the team’s invitation in a tweet, blaming Stephen Curry’s “hesitation” to come.
Last June, after hearing that many Philadelphia Eagles players were planning to skip their trip to the White House following their Super Bowl win, Trump pulled their invitation as well.