Maybe it's time to stop inviting sports teams to the
"I don't feel accepted in the
"I don't feel welcome in that house," running back LeGarrette Blount told NFL host
Now, I don't know about you, but if I'm throwing a dinner party and a chunk of my guests make a point of telling people why they're not coming, maybe the dinner party isn't such a great idea.
Yes, the tradition of teams visiting the
After that, teams from football to hockey to women's soccer seemed to enjoy the tradition. Photos were taken. A jersey with the president's name was handed over. Most Americans said, "That's nice," and went about their business.
But these days, few people just go about their business. Not when a statement can be made. So even though a dated invitation has yet to be made, some
It is surely their right to do so as Americans.
It is also rude.
No one is asking them to endorse a candidate. And taking a photo with your nation's elected leader doesn't mean you surrender your right to disagree with every single thing he does. That's the beauty of America. In fact, the visit may give you a rare chance to express your views to the leader himself.
How many photos or congratulations have those players accepted from corporations that exploit workers, CEOs who practice unfair hiring practices, TV hosts who they privately don't like, etc.? All NFL teams have mandatory events, from charity to corporate, where no excuses for absence are accepted. It's not like players don't have to bite their tongue sometimes.
Besides, since most presidential elections are about 50-50, I'm guessing half the athletes who have visited the
But we live in a world where declaring is easier than doing, and Twitter posts pass for social action. So turning down an invitation -- by tweeting or doing an interview -- gets you celebrated. You don't need to actually do anything to make the country better. You don't even need to leave the couch.
Now, to be sure, players have missed these photo-ops before.
But even Birk back then said, "I have great respect for the office of the presidency." These days, that doesn't seem to matter. I know readers who hate President
Which is why perhaps it's better to drop this tradition altogether.
Let's face it: Presidents mostly use it to boost their popularity. Teams use it to boost their legacy. It started as a nicety, but playing nice is not very fashionable these days.
Besides, if you were sitting in the
Given the country today, don't be surprised if that happens.