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Pittsburgh Penguins accept invitation to White House

Last Updated Sep 24, 2017 at 10:45 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Team decision comes as Donald Trump claims to have rescinded an invitation to Steph Curry

Players around several leagues have been taking action against the president by kneeling during the anthem

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 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.

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.

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.