Update: This article cites CNBC analyst’s Josh Brown’s tweet that the Warriors had reached a decision on White House visit. His tweet has since been disproven.
The Golden State Warriors will forego the traditional championship White House visit after a “unanimous” team vote last night, according to CNBC analyst Josh Brown, who broke the news.
Although the Warriors made the visit in 2015 during Obama’s second term, the report comes as no surprise, as multiple members of the Warriors’ organization have publicly expressed their disdain for President Trump.
In a podcast last January, David West, who joined Golden State before the 2016-17 season, stated concerns about the lesson a Trump presidency teaches “young folks.”
“All the tactics that he used to get elected are the very things that someone like me, who works with youth on a consistent basis, are the things that we try to talk our young folks out of being,” West said. “We try to talk our young people out of being bullies. We try to talk our young men out of disrespecting women. We try to talk our young people into being accepting of other people’s opinions and other people’s walks of life, and he is the complete opposite of that.”
Head coach Steve Kerr, who has been vocal on other social issues, later echoed West’s concerns in an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Chris Ballard.
“The modern coach has to be much more communicative, flexible, aware, conscientious, all those things. Frankly, I think it’s why Trump couldn’t be more ill-suited to be president, because he’s a blowhard,” Kerr said. “You don’t see some of the qualities you talk about, the resilience, the ability to communicate, the compassion. None of that. But in the old days, a lot of great coaches who maybe didn’t have those, there was still a fiber there, whatever it was. To be a great leader, there have to be some qualities in there. Has anyone ever thought that Donald Trump was a great leader?”
Even Stephen Curry, who usually responds more cautiously to questions regarding his political views, refuted Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank’s assertion that President Trump is “an asset” to the country.
“I agree with that description,” Curry said in response, “if you remove the ‘et’ from asset.”
After Twitter exploded with the news, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, whose congressional district includes parts of the Bay Area, invited the team to visit the Capitol instead.
“The @Warriors’ leadership is inspiring. I’d be honored to welcome the team to the U.S. Capitol. #DubNation,” Pelosi tweeted.
— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 13, 2017
Former Obama officials also capitalized on the news, highlighting that the last administration had a much rosier relationship with the NBA. On Instagram this morning, former Obama photographer Pete Souza posted a photo of President Obama and Stephen Curry at a White House science fair.
Pete Souza has gained a cult following for his subtle “burns” of President Trump, and coming just hours after the news of team’s decision broke, the timing of his latest post left little doubt about the message he was trying to send.
Despite the reports and the reaction on social media, the team has yet to officially announce that they’ll skip the White House visit. The team did address the reports in a statement released this afternoon, though.
“Today is all about celebrating our championship,” the organization said. “We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary.”
The Warriors have won two out of the last three NBA Finals, and very early predictions for next season have them as the favorites to defend their championship.
[Featured Image by Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Images]