NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has not shied away from voicing his opinion on controversial subjects, whether it’s legalized sports gambling, the one-and-done rule or tanking. Now he’s taking on another big issue: the champion Golden State Warriors visiting President Donald Trump at the White House?
Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum, a journalist in his own right, interviewed Silver for The Players’ Tribune, and the commissioner said that while the NBA will not force its championship teams to visit the White House, he strongly hopes they will:
“I definitely don’t think it should be a league decision. I don’t think we should be directing teams or players to go to the White House. It’s my view that if invited, our teams should go to the White House. That regardless of people’s personal or political views, I think that these institutions are bigger than any individual politician, any individual elected official.
“And it concerns me that something like going to the White House after winning a championship and something that’s been a great tradition, would become one that is partisan. I will say though, even though I think that teams should make decisions as organizations, that I would also respect an individual player’s decision not to go.”
Within hours of the Warriors winning the title, false reports surfaced that they unanimously decided not to visit the White House. But you can understand why many people had no trouble believing them given the criticism coach Steve Kerr and multiple players have thrown at Trump over the last year. Trump still has not invited them to the White House, although they have received an invitation from Congress.
While the Cubs visited Barack Obama at the White House before the end of his term, they made a second trip to see Trump in June. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, 10 players declined that visit. Reportedly more than 30 Patriots players skipped theirs, including Tom Brady dropping out last minute to visit his sick mother. The Penguins have been the outlier, announcing they would not turn down a White House visit immediately after winning the Stanley Cup Finals.