Penguins, unlike Warriors, say they’ll visit Trump White House

Within hours of the Golden State Warriors winning the NBA championship, there was a report that the team had unanimously decided not to attend a White House ceremony in their honor.

This was walked back a little by the Warriors, but without a emphatic rebuke it would appear there’s some smoke to this fire. (It should be said that coach Steve Kerr is clearly not a fan of President Trump.)

So the question was posed to the Pittsburgh Penguins: Will the team attend a celebration of their second-straight Stanley Cup championship at the Trump White House, after visiting the Obama White House the last two times they won?

From Dave Molinari of the Post-Gazette:

“The Pittsburgh Penguins would never turn down a visit to the White House and, if invited, we would go as a team,” team CEO/president David Morehouse said Tuesday in a prepared statement.

… “We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for,” he said. “Any opposition or disagreement with a president’s policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways.”

As Molinari notes, the Penguins have some prominent Democratic Party supporters in their hierarchy. “Owner Ron Burkle is a major donor to Democratic causes, and Morehouse worked in the Clinton administration and on Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign,” he wrote.

Then again, while Pittsburgh is a blue city, Western Pennsylvania is decidedly Trump country. Taking a stand as an organization, no matter management’s political leanings, would potentially be bad for business. Whereas the Golden State Warriors would likely not suffer any significant backlash.

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Naturally, one wonders if any of the Penguins players would conscientiously object to being a prop in a photo opportunity with President Trump – whose policies in office have been divisive, to put it kindly – and skip the ceremony. (Although we suspect Malkin shows up.)

Please recall in 2012 when Tim Thomas of the Boston Bruins, a tea party supporter opposed to the policies of President Obama, skipped their Stanley Cup celebration at the White House.

Like we said then with Thomas: Good on any athlete that puts their own reputation on the line, speaks out of turn and takes a moment of fundamental political propaganda to call attention to issues for which they’re passionate. Or simply to declare their opposition to the current direction of the nation.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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