Is this really going to go on for the next four years?
Because since Donald Trump was elected president, the question hanging over both the Super Bowl and now the NBA Finals revolved around how many players from the winning teams planned to not attend the traditional White House ceremony to honor the victors. The Patriots’ visit earlier this year made headlines because of how few people appeared in a photo with Trump and here we are, the paint not even dry yet on the Warriors’ NBA title, and Golden State players appear to be on the fence if they’ll go, too.
Stop being jerks and enjoy your championship.
It used to be that when teams won, the MVP was asked what he’s doing next.
“I’m going to Disney World!” used to be the thing. In 2017, the victorious rallying cry has turned into yet another opportunity to make a hollow political statement, to shout out “I’m not going to Washington!”
Guys, you’re being jerks. Please stop.
Do you care if Steph Curry doesn’t want to visit the White House? More importantly, does the President? The answer is likely no and hell no.
And further, what kind of statement does it make if pro athletes decline an invitation? Refusing to meet with Trump, rejecting an invitation for a photo op, accomplishes less than nothing. Not showing up does not create dialogue; it creates silence.
Colin Kaepernick was vilified last year when he said he was not going to vote for either presidential candidate. He chose to sit out, and what kind of message did that send? You can’t have a voice in an election or an argument or a debate if you choose to be silent. You can’t make a statement if you say nothing.
Yes, Kaepernick took a knee for the national anthem last year, but he eventually got off his knee to make significant contributions over the last year that have helped minorities, poor people, women, military veterans, and starving people abroad. He and others have backed up silent demonstrations with actual work to improve lives. Now it’s the left-leaning Warriors’ turn.
Threatening to not attend a White House ceremony, or more to the point of what Curry said this week — that he would consult with teammates first — is the same thing as kneeling and never getting up to enact change. It’s the same as quitting, taking your ball and going home.
What does Curry hope to accomplish by boycotting the ceremony? Does he think it will change anything? Does he think it will add to the political resistance taking shape across the country? Does he think not going will make Trump feel bad about himself? Or that it will change things?
Here’s what will happen if Golden State players act like jerks and decline an invitation: Trump will tweet something nasty about the failing Warriors (sad!), and everyone will go back to business as usual.
But what if the Warriors do attend? What if Curry actually uses his voice to engage Trump in conversation, similar to the work being done by NFL players like Malcolm Jenkins, who has met with Republicans and Democrats in his mission to repair this country’s broken race relations?
Curry and many people in this country have issues with Trump’s policies. Few people actually get an opportunity to be in the same room as the President, to have a dialogue with him, to question him. So instead of taking the easy, shallow way out and flatly declining an invitation that hasn’t even come yet, Curry and his teammates might make an even bigger, stronger statement by standing face-to-face with Trump and using their voices for something other than producing silence.
Athletes have gotten a lot of negativity because they haven’t been sticking to sports. Good for them. They’re using their platform and their celebrity to create awareness, to take social stands in an effort to make the country better, more inclusive.
But if you don’t show up, if you remain silent, then you accomplish nothing. If you flush an opportunity to engage with a President you’ve been so outspoken against, if you forfeit your chance to appear at the White House, which belongs to the people, not the person who lives there, then you’re doing something far more damaging.
You’re being a jerk. And that changes nothing.
Imagine for a second a fan screaming obsceneties at Al Michaels after the “Do you believe in miracles?” call, or a disgruntled fan unloading on Howie Rose following “Matteau! Matteau! Matteau!”
Fast forward to this week when NBC hockey analyst Mike Milbury was serenaded with curse words from an angry patron at the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final.
You reap what you sow.
Because Milbury has made a career out of saying jerky things. You could say, in his own words, which he recently used to justify one player bashing another’s head into the ice, that Milbury “had it coming.”
Spike the football. Spin the ball. Toss it to a teammate. But please, stop pooping the football.
Indoor football player Damon Powell was flagged for being a jerk this week when he celebrated a touchdown against Arizona by appearing to poop the football in the back of the end zone. As far as end zone cellys go, this has got to be the jerkiest one going, similar to Curry weirdly popping a squat against the Cavs last week in the NBA Finals.
In general, football could always use more thoughtful, creative celebrations. As fans, we demand it. But when you do something like poop the football, you contribute to the effort by leagues to take more fun out of the game.
So stop being jerks and be more creative with your celebrations.