The Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins were ecstatic about visiting President Obama last year. With Trump, they're clearly ashamed and trying to hide it.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were guests at the White House after winning the NHL Stanley Cup in the most recent season, but on their social media accounts, the visit with Donald Trump was not shared with their fans.
On the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, not a single mention was made of the White House trip. On Facebook and the official team website, the trip was mentioned — but no photos were shown of the team meeting with Trump.
That was not the case in October of 2016. When the Penguins visited the White House to see President Barack Obama the team used the hashtag #PensAndPOTUS to promote the event. They posted video of President Obama’s speech to the team, a video compilation of their trip to see Obama, photos of Obama with the team, and they collected the social media posts in a “Moment” called “Pittsburgh Penguins Get Presidential.”
And on the official website story of the visit, Obama’s photo was prominently featured.
In fact, the team’s statement explaining the visit to the Trump White House also featured a photo of Obama, along with the statement, “Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”
Trump has spent the last few weeks adding sports to his racist hit parade. He has been furious at black NFL players who have protested police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. He has called for a boycott of the league, and pushed NFL owners to penalize players who protest.
Trump even used an estimated quarter million in tax dollars to send Mike Pence to an NFL game for an awkward stunt where he left the game after players protested. The stunt reportedly was planned in advance.
Trump’s ongoing racist behavior has repulsed athletes. NBA star Steph Curry, who once starred in a White House video with Obama promoting mentorship, said he would not visit the White House after the Golden State Warriors won the most recent championship.
Several members of the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots skipped the White House ceremony with Trump earlier in the year. At the time, Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty said, “Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the President having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
Now with Trump, athletes run the risk of being seen as consorting with bigotry and prejudice. So either they don’t go at all or try to make sure as few people know as possible.