Teams shouldn’t visit White House

Adam Tumino

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It has been standard practice for championship teams of varying levels to visit the White House as a part of the celebration. It is a practice that should end.

The most recent team to visit the White House was the Washington Nationals, who had just won the first World Series in franchise history.

Any good will that the Nationals built through their underdog season, surprising playoff run and raucous victory parade was destroyed in an instant at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

Catcher Kurt Suzuki, to the surprise of seemingly everyone, put on a MAGA hat during his speech and first baseman Ryan Zimmerman thanked President Trump “for keeping everyone here safe in our country.”

We live in a society where a majority of sports fans want politics and sports to be completely separate. This is impossible, as politics are an unavoidable part of everything in our country. But watching the Nationals go out of their way to become a political spectacle is a bizarre and unexpected turn.

Notably, eight players elected not to attend. Among them were Anthony Rendon, the best player on the Nationals and one of the best in all of baseball, and Sean Doolittle, who released a lengthy statement outlining his reasoning, which is worthy of a read through in The Washington Post.

But the players who attended, and especially those who embraced the visit, contributed to a tradition that should no longer exist.

At this point in our country’s history, we have a president who is actively working to divide the nation and cause harm to large groups of people. Attending the White House as an athlete makes it seem as if everything is normal.

It is not normal to have a president whose hate-mongering is fueling his success. It is not normal to have a president who is subject of a formalized impeachment inquiry.

The Nationals fiasco also highlighted another issue. Of the eight players who refused to attend, only one, Doolittle, is white.

White Americans got Trump elected and are responsible for any harm he has caused or will cause in the future. Maybe the reason why white Americans do not denounce Trump’s actions is because a vast majority of them agree with him and his hateful views.

Any team who has visited the White House during Trump’s term has contributed to the normalization and validation of a hateful and spiteful man and his presidency.

Adam Tumino is a junior journalism major. He can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].