BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
If the Golden State Warriors are invited to Donald Trump's White House, will they go? In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, after having won the 2016-17 National Basketball Association Championship, acknowledging the love of their fans at Oakland's Oracle Arena, and spritzing themselves with champagne, Downtown Josh Brown issued an un-sourced tweet claiming that the Warriors had made a "unanimous" decision not to go to the White House if invited. While several team members and coach Steve Kerr have been outspoken in their criticisms of Trump, it appears that no such decision was made. An early morning statement from the team read:“Today is about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions, when and if necessary.”
Since assuming office in January, Trump has hosted the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots – albeit with several players refusing to attend for political reasons -- and Clemson University, the NCAA football champion. (In 2015, the team met with President Obama at the White House in what turned into a highly spirited, fun-filled, and glorious championship celebration.)
If the Warriors turned down an invitation to the White House, it would not be surprising.
"I have no idea what kind of president he'll be because he hasn't said anything about what he's going to do," Warrior coach Steve Kerr said shortly after the election. "We don't know. But it's tough when you want there to be some respect and dignity, and there hasn't been any. And then you walk into a room with your daughter and your wife who have basically been insulted by his comments and they're distraught. Then you walk in and see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities, it's very shocking. It really is."
Kerr, who lost his father to a terrorist assassination, also spoke out after Trump announced his Muslim travel ban: "If we're trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to the country, we're really going against the spirit of what our country is about, and [we're] creating fear. It's the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror. I'm completely against what's happening. It's shocking. It's a horrible idea."
In January, David West, an NBA veteran and well-respected player around the league – who signed with the team last summer – commented on the election tactics of Team Trump: "All the tactics he used to get elected are the very things that someone like me, who works with youth on a consistent basis, are the things we try to talk our young folks out of being," he said. "We try to talk our young people out of being bullies. We try to talk our young men out of disrespecting women. We try to talk our young people into being accepting of other people's opinions and other people's walks of life."
West has not been alone in speaking out. When Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank called Trump "a real asset" to the nation, Steph Curry, two-time MVP and the brand's marquee endorser, said: "I agree with that description, if you remove the 'et' from asset."
In February, Shaun Livingston made it clear that if the Warriors were to win the championship, he would not go to Trump's White House. "I really feel that my views would keep me from going and visiting," he said. "Just with everything that's going on right now, I just don't agree with a lot of stuff that's happening."
Newsweek’s Ryan Bort pointed out, "As the NBA season has coincided with Trump's election and first few months in the White House, the league has emerged as staunchly anti-Trump. The prevailing sentiment seems to be one of opposition. Two NBA figure have led the charge, San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich and Kerr. Both have been refreshingly outspoken when it comes to their views on the president, delivering rant after rant when asked by reporters about Trump's latest news-making decision.”
Since Trump's election, there has been much speculation about a championship-winning NBA team visiting the White House. In early June, Nicole Fisher, CEO of HHR Strategies, a health and human rights-focused advising firm, pointed out at thefederalst.com that "the president of the NBPA, Chris Paul, has been open since the election about his distaste of Trump's personal conduct and public policy. Based on public interviews and social media, it seems almost no one in the NBA supports the new presidential administration—not even coaches or owners.”It should be noted that Cleveland Cavalier owner Dan Gilbert contributed to Trump's inauguration.
"In the days following the end of the series, we confidently predict that regardless of the winners, one by one there will be players announcing that they won't be headed to the White House — and Americans will collectively applaud their decision," TV's Cierra Bailey's wrote.
Whether any NBA championship team goes to the White House while Trump is itsoccupant remains to be seen.