UVA Basketball Champs Snub The President
Here’s something that’s guaranteed to trigger Donald Trump haters: I cheered all season for the UVa basketball team, but I’m disgusted with them for turning down a chance to be honored at the White House.
Coach Tony Bennett should have told his players early in the season that their goal was to win a national title and when they did he expected them to act like champs, go to the White House and behave like Virginia gentlemen.
You know, the way most members of Dabo Swinney’s Clemson football team did after they beat the heck out of Bama in that national championship in January.
And as the classy national basketball champion Baylor University women will do this afternoon, according to USA Today:
The Bears will visit the White House on Monday afternoon, according to a news release.
Baylor coach Kim Mulkey had previously said the team would be receptive to an invitation and that she did not view it as “political issue.”
“I’ve been every time for every president,” Mulkey told the Associated Press. “It’s an honor to go to the White House. I want everyone to say they went to the White House. Not many people can say that.“
Instead, Virginia’s team made a political point by turning down the invitation. Worse, they did it without having the courage to actually admit what they were doing.
Going to the White House doesn’t mean you like or approve of its inhabitant. It means you respect the office of the president.
The tradition of sports teams visiting the White House is more than 100 years old. Over the years, individual players have skipped out, but whole teams passing up the chance to meet the president? Rare. Until Trump.
I know what’s coming: But, but, but... Trump is a so-and-so, Trump said this-and-that, Trump is Hitler, Trump is disgusting, etc.
Spare me any lectures about the vulgarities of the current president. I’m old enough to remember when President Clinton was getting blow jobs from an intern in the Oval Office. Yet people still lined up to be photographed with him and to take turns sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom.
It’s hard to top old Bill Clinton - a married man who reportedly used a cigar as a sex toy with his girlfriend - on the repulsiveness scale. (Sorry for being so crude. Clinton started it.)
On two occasions Super Bowl teams didn’t meet with Clinton. Both were because the president was preoccupied. Once with impeachment and later with a Middle East peace negotiation.
Look, if you get an invitation to the White House, you go. No matter who’s president. No matter what he’s said or done. Very few folks ever get to meet a president. It’s the sort of thing you tell your children and grandchildren. Only a fool passes up that opportunity.
And yes, I’m aware that Coach Tony Bennett couched his regrets in a lot of polite verbiage about logistics, but we all suspect what’s really going on. Shoot Larry Sabato, the sage of Charlottesville, didn’t pretend to believe it was all about travel arrangements.:
I have a lot of respect for Coach Bennett, but you get the invite, you charter a freaking plane from C-ville and take all willing players - including ball boys, trainers, managers and coaches - to the White House. The players who’ve left town find a way to go, too, if they desire.
Instead, the entire team is snubbing the president of the United States, perhaps at the urging of more than 10,000 leftie alums and students who signed a petition begging them to do just that. Go ahead and cheer if you like - and I know many of you will - but it’s an unfortunate trend that’s is going to accelerate with future administrations. Tit for tat, you know.
Frankly, I expected better from Virginia’s flagship university.
For some of us, the glow of the national championship burned a little dimmer when we learned that the team we pulled for all season decided that it was too much trouble to go to Washington.