An inevitable consequence of winning a professional sports championship in 2017 is getting the question about visiting the White House. What used to be a nice photo op for a championship team has turned into a political decision. It was that way during the Obama presidency and it’s only been amplified in the Trump White House.
The Golden State Warriors, most notably, were mired in controversy when star Steph Curry said he didn’t want to visit Trump’s White House and the president retorted by revoking the team’s invitation.
The Houston Astros, for now at least, aren’t making any waves. And since this is baseball we’re talking about, that’s probably not too likely to change.
Manager A.J. Hinch was asked about a White House visit before the team’s victory parade Friday and he tried to keep things as apolitical as possible.
“I don’t know that this is the best stage for everybody to declare one way or the other,” Hinch said. “I believe in celebrating these championships, I believe that our organization should bask in the glory of what this work has done … What comes out of this moving forward on the political side, or what we do or don’t do, or what sports has turned into representing the country’s tone — will have to be decided in time. We’re not going to allow anything to polarize this moment that we want to celebrate with our fans.”
— Brian T. Smith (@ChronBrianSmith) November 3, 2017
From a purely PR perspective, that’s the right thing to say. There’s no reason to make things political before the parade even happens. And there may not be any reason at all — unless the players decide to.
So far, the individual players we’ve heard from definitively are on board. That includes George Springer, Dallas Keuchel and Lance McCullers Jr., who all said as much Friday.
Third baseman Alex Bregman, however, said he’d follow the lead of Puerto Rican teammates Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran. So that part remains to be seen.
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