The Golden State Warriors are champions. It’s an enormous honor that comes with a great number of privileges, and it also comes with a customary White House visit. Under Donald Trump’s administration, there is serious question whether the Warriors will choose to visit as champions or skip the trip all together.
No championship team has skipped its White House appearance yet. Some Patriots players chose not to attend citing political reason, but a majority of the team still visited. Clemson football visited with no notable absences, while South Carolina’s women’s basketball team has said they plan to visit, too. (North Carolina’s men’s team hasn’t given clear indication either way, though Roy Williams once did criticize Trump’s tweeting.)
Right now, they haven’t received an invitation and aren’t making any decisions about it yet, per a team statement.
Today is all about celebrating our championship. We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.
However, there are reasons to believe that the Warriors would decline such an offer. Here are three figures who have criticized him in the Golden State locker room.
Kerr spent much of his childhood in the Middle East and lost his father due to terrorism, giving him a unique perspective. When Trump won the election in November, Kerr said this.
“Maybe we should’ve seen it coming over the last 10 years. You look at society, you look at what’s popular. People are getting paid millions of dollars to go on TV and scream at each other, whether it’s in sports or politics or entertainment, and I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics. But then all of a sudden you’re faced with the reality that the man who’s gonna lead you has routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words.”
In that same media appearance, Kerr talked about how many felt directly insulted by Trump’s comments — something the team talked about together.
“You walk into a room with your daughter and your wife who have basically been insulted by his comments and they’re distraught. Then you walk in and see the faces of your players, most of them who have been insulted directly as minorities, it’s very shocking. It really is. We talked about it as a team this morning. I don’t know what else to say. Just the whole process has left all of us feeling kind of disgusted and disappointed. I thought we were better than this.”
Kerr has also called Trump’s failed travel ban a “horrible idea” and cracked jokes about the administrations penchant for “alternate facts.”
It wasn’t long ago that Curry appeared to carefully walk the line for expressing political opinions, but he has been more outspoken of late.
Specifically, when commenting on Under Armour’s CEO saying Trump as an “asset,” Curry responded with this: “I agree with that description if you remove the ’et.’”
The 36-year-old veteran played the fewest minutes of his career this season, but he was rewarded with a championship ring. He has constantly spoken out against Trump this season, including this quote on election day.
David West: "This whole fairytale about a post-racial utopia that Obama supposedly created is all bull...This nation has not moved a thread"— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 9, 2016
West also said this in that same media appearance: “Even in high school, in college, an athletic director would never hire a coach to lead a football team that's never had any experience in football whatsoever, and we just put a person in the presidency who has no political experience. It's crazy. It's really crazy. But like I said, he spoke the mind of the people, and you got to respect that at the very least.”
It wasn’t the only time — West also talked about how Trump portrays the same qualities that he tries to “talk our young folk out of being” in January.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob
Though Lacob has occasionally donated to Republican politicians, his donations have been at least seven times larger towards Democratic causes.
Other players haven’t shared thoughts that are specific anti-Trump, but most have expressed ideological opinions that align with their teammates and coach.
The biggest question is whether the team will see a White House visit as a chance to engage in discussion with the president, or a political statement. NBA commissioner Adam Silver thinks it could be a good chance to provide discourse.
“To me, if a player were to choose not to go to the White House, whether they were choosing not to go to the current White House or a future White House, my response would be: ‘That’s a lost opportunity,’” Silver told ESPN’s The Undefeated in December. “Because that’s an opportunity that most citizens who have a political point of view would kill for — the opportunity to directly tell the president of the United States how they feel about an issue.”
However, Silver would almost certainly allow teams to make their own decisions. When the Warriors make theirs, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them become the first team to skip.