Many members of the Golden State Warriors organization, including head coach Steve Kerr and two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, have been publicly critical of President Donald Trump. Now after winning their second title in the past three years this past Monday, the franchise is considering foregoing attending the ceremonial visit to the White House customarily extended to the current NBA champion and other professional and college championship teams.
According to a statement issued earlier this week by the Warriors, the organization had yet to receive a formal invitation from the current presidential administration.
“Today is about celebrating our championship,” the statement read. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions, when and if necessary.”
If the Warriors do decline or if they accept the expected invitation and individual members of the organization opt not to attend, they will be the latest professional sports champion whose franchise was split in their judgement.
More than 30 players on the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl LI winning team did not attend a ceremony held for the organization at the White House in April, not all for political reasons. But several, including Nyack, N.Y., born defensive back Devin McCourty and defensive lineman Chris Long cited Trump and his policies as the cause.
“For me, it was simple,” McCourty said in a video titled, “StandingPats (Be Patriots).” “I don’t believe in excluding other people.” The Rutgers University alumnus added, “It was something I thought about before we even won the game.”
Long’s paternal instincts influenced his decision to skip the proceedings. “[When] my son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is, I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey Dad, why’d you go when you knew the right thing was to not go?’” he said.
Kerr, who returned to the Warriors’ bench for Game 2 of the NBA Finals after missing their previous 13 games this postseason because of an illness, offered this assessment of Trump last month.
“To be a great leader, there have to be some qualities in there,” he said. “Has anyone ever thought that Donald Trump was a great leader?”
In February, Curry spoke with the San Jose Mercury News in response to comments made by Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour, who in an interview with CNBC said about Trump, “Such a pro-business president is something that’s a real asset to this country. People should grab that opportunity.”
Curry then responded, “If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say [Under Armour does not] have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people, if I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am.”