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Getting invited to the White House for a photo op with the President of the United States used to be a foregone conclusion. The kind of thing that felt like a win-win for all parties involved. The team and players got a great experience and get to meet the President while the Commander in Chief earns some brownie points with the team’s fans for an easy PR victory.

That’s not really how it’s worked under Donald Trump. Trump has picked a lot of fights with a lot of people since becoming President and athletes are one of his top targets. He turned the NFL player protests during the national anthem into a national panic. He alienated scores of African-American athletes with his comments and agenda. And when it comes to inviting pro and NCAA champions to the White House for the photo op, even that has been turned into a statement event. Or in most cases these days, a non-event.

While NHL champs like the Pittsburgh Penguins, MLB champs like the Houston Astros, and NFL champs like the New England Patriots have been some of the few athletes to make the trek and smile alongside No. 45 (the Eagles notably did not), there’s one sport in particular that we’ve all just come to expect will not visit the White House so long as Trump is the one waiting to greet them.

Basketball.

After Steph Curry and other Golden State players criticized Trump before and after their NBA Finals victory, he disinvited them from the appearance (which was apparently never really extended in the first place). You might remember LeBron James then called Trump a “bum,” ensuring he’s not welcome there anytime soon either. The team did visit D.C. though in a wonderfully spiteful move. It was a moot point if the Warriors would visit after their 2018 Finals victory.

The 2017 NCAA men’s basketball champion North Carolina Tar Heels announced that they couldn’t make it to the White House because of “scheduling issues.” Meanwhile, 2017 women’s champ South Carolina won the whole thing in April but didn’t hear from the White House until November when they were invited to take part in a general celebration event. They declined.

The Minnesota Lynx won the WNBA title in 2017 but said they were never invited to the White House to be honored. Same goes for the 2018 champ Seattle Storm, who have not been invited and has said they will not attend even if they are.

And that brings us to the 2018 NCAA men’s and women’s champions, the Villanova Wildcats and Notre Dame Fighting Irish, respectively. You’re never gonna believe this but the White House never invited the Irish and now we’ve learned that they never bothered to invite the Wildcats either. For the Wildcats it’s a disappointment especially because they did go to the White House following their 2016 NCAA Title when Barack Obama was President.

Villanova head coach Jay Wright has taken the whole thing in stride, noting “two years ago it was the experience of a lifetime for all of us. It’s just a different time and I understand it. So it is what it is.”

It’s petty. It’s disappointing. It’s lazy. It’s rude. It’s cowardly.

It’s Donald Trump.

[USAT]

About Sean Keeley

A graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Keeley is the creator of the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and author of 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse related things for SB Nation, Curbed, Neighborhoods.com, and many other outlets. He currently lives in Chicago.

2 thoughts on “The White House seems to have just stopped inviting basketball champions for a visit. Wonder why…

  1. I would still invite them, then bash them on Twitter. This is a low life move on the part of a bunch of spoiled 20 somethings.The schools should make the teams go. I do not care who the president is you go to the White house when your team wins. I think all the players who bitch and cry are just a bunch of rude jerks who can not even suck up the political feelings for an hour to go be honored by there own government. If I was a team owner of a pro team we would go. If players did not want to go then they would be fined for missing a team event,it would be like missing a practice or a team meeting. It would be expected. When the players did not show up they would be called out by name by the team on social Media. I think they would think twice about pissing off the fans. The modern soft skinned progressives have no clue on how to be civil. I so want to see Lebron and the Lakers win so Trump can go off on the POS (James) for his little bitch political attitude. I am sorry but SUCK IT UP you soft POS’s, just go. I am sorry if your little butt got hurt by some words that were twisted by a false media narrative, but to f’ing bad, you overpaid babies.

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