Donald Trump’s fast food feast with the Clemson football team made many headlines for a variety of reasons including the fare served and the timing of the celebration. The government shutdown was still ongoing, and so the White House kitchen staff was working on a skeleton crew. But now the secondary story is coming out, and it’s about which players went to the White House, and who opted out.
The Complex says that at the time of the celebratory dinner, most of the headlines were about the burgers and the pizza served on covered tables amidst tall gold candelabras, but now sources are revealing that most of the black Clemson players decided not to make the trip from South Carolina to Washington, D.C.
The national championship team has 57 African-American players on the roster, but only 15 of them chose to make the trip. Though many decided against using their names on the record, several said that the players who chose to go were mostly “bit players and young members of the team who had yet to see much of the field.”
“Not saying anything against the players who went, but if you look at who went — freshman and people fighting for playing time — you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Several black Clemson football players reportedly opted out of Trump White House dinner https://t.co/LcMkyHQn5e
— The Daily Beast (@thedailybeast) January 29, 2019
The player noted that there was no official team meeting, but the more prominent black players made it clear that they weren’t interested in the White House photo op.
“Players were talking amongst each other but everybody was like: ‘I’m not going to that.'”
The Root spoke with three black Clemson players who each confirmed that many players, black and white, wanted nothing to do with the trip to the White House to meet with President Trump.
A defensive standout said that coaches didn’t pressure anyone to make the trip to Washington, D.C., but most of the players who decided to go were concerned that if they didn’t it might affect their scholarships or playing time.
Joe Galbraith, Clemson’s associate vice president for strategic communications, said that the players who didn’t make the White House trip had a variety of reasons for not attending the meet and greet with Trump.
“On the championship game roster, 26 players had already received their bachelor’s degree, and had no planned obligations on campus beginning that week. Other student-athletes had class obligations as the spring semester began the week prior.”
The player sources for the article laughed at that excuse.
“So, you think players just wanted to go to classes so bad? They told us it was up to us. Folk just didn’t want to go.”