The Stanley Cup winning Pittsburgh Penguins do plan to visit the White House if asked, despite team executives' ties to Democrat politics.
It is traditional that college and professional championship teams meet with whoever the president is at the time to celebrate their title.
The Penguins won the Stanley Cup signifying the National Hockey League championship on June 11 by defeating the Nashville Predators four games to two, and prevailing in the final game by a score of 2-0. Sidney Crosby received the most valuable player award. Pittsburgh also won the Cup in the 2015-2016 season.
Presumably, the White House visit, if an invitation is forthcoming, will take place when the Pens are in town to play the Washington Capitals in the upcoming 2017-2018 season during their attempt for a three-peat.
Penguins owner Ron Burkle is a Democrat activist and fundraiser who has also contributed millions to the party from his own checkbook and was at one point a close friend of former POTUS Bill Clinton (they apparently have since had a falling out, according to the Los Angeles Times). Penguins President and CEO David Morehouse worked in the Clinton White House and on Al Gore's presidential campaign.
In a statement, Morehouse nonetheless told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the team would hardly reject the opportunity to visit 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
"The Pittsburgh Penguins would never turn down a visit to the White House and, if invited, we would go as a team. We respect the office of the presidency of the United States and what it stands for. Any opposition or disagreement with a president's policies, or agenda, can be expressed in other ways."
A petition launched on the Care2 progressive social network urges the Pittsburgh Penguins to decline a White House invitation because President Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement. As of this writing, the petition is close to reaching its goal of 13,000 supporters.
The jury is still out as to whether the NBA champion Golden State Warriors will meet with President Trump if they are invited.
On the morning after the Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers, a report spread like wildfire through Twitter and then into the media that the team unanimously voted against the Trump visit. That this decision would occur in the middle of a raucous champagne party seemed odd, and the report turned out to be fake news. The Warriors even issued a press release that the White House had yet to extend an invitation and the team would make a decision about going if or when an invitation emerges.
Head coach Steve Kerr and various players on the team have made no secret about their disagreements with President Trump.
Steph Curry told the San Jose Mercury News that he is not inclined to go to the White House, but he and Finals MVP Kevin Durant and others players said the team would make a collective decision, if necessary, after they get together as a group and discuss it.
In something of a change of tune perhaps, Kerr seemed to encourage the team to join the president for the traditional meet and greet in remarks made during a recent podcast interview, Sports Illustrated reported.
"...We have not met about it because we haven't been invited. But I would want to make sure the players give this really a lot of thought. Everybody knows I've been a very outspoken critic of Trump, so as a result maybe we won't even get the invitation. But I do think it's very important to consider a potential invitation because I think it could have very positive ramifications if we did go...I, like many of our players, are very offended by some of Trump's words and actions. On the other hand, I think there's something to respecting the office, respecting our institutions our government..."
Kerr also suggested that the players should take advantage of the opportunity to voice their concerns directly to the president, which is essentially what Fox Sports analyst Jason Whitlock also recommended.
Do you think that the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Golden State Warrior should visit President Trump at the White House for the traditional ceremony honoring championship teams?
[Featured Image by Gene J. Puskar/AP Images]