by WorldTribune Staff, September 24, 2017
Did March Madness just surrender to September hysteria?
On the same day President Donald Trump rescinded an invitation to NBA champion Golden State Warriors’ point guard Stephen Curry, a team spokesman for the University of North Carolina’s NCAA championship-winning men’s basketball team said the team won’t be making the customary visit to the White House.
UNC claimed it was a scheduling conflict and not politics that led to the Tar Heels’ backing out.
“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” Steve Kirschner, the team’s spokesman, told the News and Observer. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between them couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”
North Carolina’s players were said to be “fine with going,” but coach Roy Williams would not commit when asked in April if the team would visit the White House. “[T]he office of the presidency of the United States is the most fantastic place you can be,” Williams said. “But let me think on it.”
After Curry said he was not interested in celebrating the Warriors’ NBA title with Trump, the president tweeted on Sept. 23: “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
The Golden State Warriors responded by confirming that the entire team would opt out of the White House trip. “[W]e accept that President Trump has made it clear that we are not invited,” the organization. “In lieu of a visit to the White House, we have decided that we’ll constructively use our trip to the nation’s capital in February to celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion – the values that we embrace as an organization.”
In the past, members of championship teams have declined the White House visit. In 2013, Matt Birk, center on the NFL-champion Baltimore Ravens, did not make the visit, citing then-President Barack Obama’s outspoken support for Planned Parenthood.