WASHINGTON, DC. (NEWS 1130) – The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins say they’ve accepted an invitation from Donald Trump to visit the White House, while players, coaches and owners in the NFL and NBA have been involved in an escalating war of words with the US president.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have a statement regarding the team’s upcoming White House visit.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) September 24, 2017
The Penguins released a statement Sunday saying they respect the office of the president and “the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House.”
The Penguins were honoured by Barack Obama after winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and previously by George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.
“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,” the team said.
Trump revoked the White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday after the team had said they might not accept, a decision that led to rebukes from star players including LeBron James and Chris Paul. He also said that NFL owners should “fire” players who kneel during the national anthem in protest, prompting angry responses from the league and the NFL Players Association, as well as individual coaches and owners.
— Pete Carroll (@PeteCarroll) September 24, 2017
There isn’t much in the way of tension between Trump and the NHL, where Americans make up the minority of players when compared to Canadians and Europeans.
Regardless of how it makes you feel individually, these are literally the principles the US was founded on. Come on, Mr. President
— Blake Wheeler (@BiggieFunke) September 23, 2017
Blake Wheeler, a Winnipeg Jets forward from Plymouth, Minn., has been one of the few NHL players to criticize Trump on social media for his comments about protesting athletes in other major professional leagues.