OPINION – I never played for a Super Bowl championship team.
I never kissed a layup off the backboard and through the hoop during an NBA game, let alone win a title.
I don’t see a Pulitzer or Nobel in my future and it’s a rock solid fact I will never be acknowledged for my campaign contributions.
But, just in case somebody miraculously decides to send me an invitation to the White House, the answer is no.
I’m with Golden State Warriors basketball star Stephen Curry when it comes to a White House visit: I’d rather stay home, even though that historic building at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. is just as much mine as it is the current occupant’s.
It’s the People’s House and it belongs to all of us, whether young or old, black or white, Republican or Democrat.
It doesn’t matter if you are gay or not, a Muslim, Jew or Christian.
It is your house, my house, our house.
It is customary for championship sports teams or others of noted accomplishment to be invited to the White House in what is basically a political photo op.
Not this time.
“… by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to,” Curry said in declining.
The president immediately rescinded the invitation, via Twitter, of course.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” he tweeted. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
He tried to couch it by saying what a “privilege” it is to play professional sports.
It is a privilege to serve the nation in an elected capacity.
It takes a lifetime of training and a host of well-developed God-given skills, intense dedication and focus and a world of physical and emotional sacrifices to make it to professional sports.
The Warriors immediately issued a statement supporting their star:
While we intended to meet as a team at the first opportunity we had this morning (Friday) to collaboratively discuss a potential visit to the White House, we accept that President Trump has made it clear that we are not invited. We believe there is nothing more American than our citizens having the right to express themselves freely on matters important to them. We’re disappointed that we did not have an opportunity during this process to share our views or have open dialogue on issues impacting our communities that we felt would be important to raise.
In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital (sic) in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.
Curry is among a growing list of athletes estranged from the administration over the last few days after the president also hammered the NFL for “going soft” by instituting new rules to protect players from traumatic brain injuries that lead to violence and cognitive disorders and for not firing players who participate in silent protest during the playing of the national anthem.
The flame was touched to fuel Friday night when he visited Huntsville, Alabama.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘get that son-of-a-bitch off the field right now, out. He’s fired,’” Trump said.
“You know, some owner’s going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy who disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’”
The president also took a slap at new rules implemented to protect players from serious injury, including the traumatic effects of concussions that have left a startling number of NFL players with cognitive disorders and aggressively violent behavior, saying the rules are “ruining the game.”
He then encouraged fans to walk out of stadiums if they see a player taking a knee in protest.
The NFL Player’s Association quickly condemned his words.
“This union … will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks,” DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFLPA, said in a statement on Twitter.
The commissioner agreed.
“The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture,” Goodell said in the league’s statement. “There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month. Divisive comments like these (made by the president) demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.”
New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch also said the president’s remarks were out of line.
“Comments like we heard last night from the president are inappropriate, offensive and divisive,” their statement, released Saturday, said. “We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society.”
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the attitude of the current tenant of the People’s House.
No, what we have here is a highly irrational, crude and combative guy itching for a fight as he tries to deflect all eyes away from the ongoing investigation of his ties to Russia and that nation’s influence on our last election.
He’s called our house “a real dump.”
He’s disrespected our First Amendment.
And, he seems intent on duking it out with foreign leaders, from Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to North Korean strongman Kim Jong-un.
There is no filter, no grace, no sense or sensibility, just ham-fisted anger and spite.
It’s time for Congress to serve an eviction notice on this guy and return the People’s House to its rightful owners.
Ed Kociela is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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