While the tradition of professional sports teams being invited to the White House after winning a championship has become a controversial topic under President Donald Trump, the Boston Red Sox confirmed that they will be taking up their offer to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
After winning the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in October, many wonder whether the Red Sox would accept an invitation to attend a White House ceremony when teams from the NBA and NFL have turned down their invitations (or were straight up disinvited) following their championship runs. Yet, the team announced on Monday that they were indeed arranging a date for a team visit, despite Red Sox manager Alex Cora publically criticizing Trump for his slow response when sending aid to his native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria earlier this year.
Cora, 43, confirmed he will be accompanying the team, but said he’d refrain from any “embarrassing” controversy during their meeting with the president.
“I’m gonna use my platform the right way,” he told MassLive after the team’s decision. “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.”
According to the Washington Post, Red Sox president Sam Kennedy said players are free to skip the ceremony.
“Like in the past, it’s an invitation,” he said. “It’s not a mandatory, command performance. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get the recognition they deserve for a world championship.”
After the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA championship, Trump preemptively rescinded the team’s invitation in a tweet, blaming Curry’s “hesitation” to come.
In June, after hearing that many Philadelphia Eagles players were planning to skip their trip to the White House following their Super Bowl win, Trump also pulled their invitation.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” the White House said in a statement at the time. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
Just a day later, as the Warriors and Cavaliers faced off once again in the NBA Finals, James and Curry confirmed their teams would not visit Trump when the series ended.
“It’s typical of him,” James said of Trump’s decision to rescind the Eagles’ invitation. “I’m not surprised. I mean, no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway.”
“You know, it’s a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don’t feel that he’s for,” James continued. “It’s a lot of people that believe that he’s not for the people or doing things that’s right by the people so that’s not surprising you know, hearing the news today with the Eagles.”
Yet, not every team has followed in James and Curry’s lead — the Houston Astros and the New England Patriots (minus Tom Brady and other players) both accepted their White House invites. Many players on the Washington Capitals, who won the 2018 Stanley Cup, said they would also attend if they were invited.