Trump responded Saturday on Twitter to Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry, who has made clear he’s not interested in a traditional White House trip. Curry told reporters Friday: “I don’t want to go … my beliefs stay the same.”
Trump weighed in Saturday from his golf club Bedminster, New Jersey. He said: “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
It was not immediately clear whether Trump was rescinding the invitation for Curry or the entire team.
The tweet about Curry and the Warriors came one day after Trump told a rally in Alabama that NFL owners should fire players who kneel during the national anthem. Several NFL players, starting with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, refused to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” to protest police treatment of blacks and social injustice.
“That’s a total disrespect of our heritage. That’s a total disrespect of everything that we stand for,” Trump said, encouraging owners to act.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, you’d say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired,” Trump said to loud applause.
Warriors general manager Bob Myers said Friday the team has had discussions with the White House, and that Golden State owner Joe Lacob also would be involved in the decision on whether to go. The Warriors did not immediately respond to a request for reaction to Trump’s tweet early Saturday. They were scheduled for an afternoon media availability following their first practice.
Curry said Friday a decision to not visit the White House would only be a first step.
“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. “It’s not just the act of not going. There are things you have to do on the back end to actually push that message into motion.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The Players’ Tribune in July he believes teams should visit the White House when invited, though also said he would not order anyone to make such a trip.
“I think that these institutions are bigger than any individual politician, any individual elected official,” Silver said then. “And it concerns me that something like going to the White House after winning a championship, something that has 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.”
Trump has met with some teams already in his first year in office.
Clemson visited the White House this year after winning the College Football Playoff, some members of the New England Patriots went after the Super Bowl victory and the Chicago Cubs went to the Oval Office in June to commemorate their World Series title. The Cubs also had the larger-scale, more traditional visit with President Barack Obama in January, four days before the Trump inauguration.
And if the Warriors don’t want to meet with Trump, they may still get a welcome in Washington: House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California has said she would like to bring the team to the Capitol.
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds in Miami contributed to this story.
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