Jack Albrecht, a North Dakota State University football player, brought a subtle protest against Donald Trump when the team met with him in the Oval Office, in the form of a Democratic Socialists Of American pin on his lapel, Yahoo Sports is reporting.
For over a century, championship-winning teams have been customarily invited to the White House following their win, with the visit usually taking place weeks or months afterward due to athletes’ busy schedules. The tradition went on in stops and spurts over the century, but since the 1970s, it’s been pretty much standard operating procedure for the POTUS to host winning professional and college teams for a visit.
The Bison won the FCS College Football Championship (a championship for second-tier NCAA teams whose schools are too small to compete with the major teams) back on January 5. Following tradition, the team was invited to the White House when their schedule allowed, which was this week.
While Trump entertained the young men with fast-food burgers and chicken sandwiches, the offensive lineman brought with him a subtle protest: his lapel pin from the DSA.
In a tweet, Albrecht didn’t specifically mention the pin, but it’s visible on his lapel.
Checking in from an action-packed day in DC pic.twitter.com/fvTDDfXmNG
— Jack Albrecht (@JackRAlbrecht) March 5, 2019
The presence of the pin was, however, noted by the DSA themselves, who on their Facebook page took some degree of pleasure in noticing that one of their supporters brought the pin to the Oval Office.
“Democratic socialism is for every worker on earth. You, me and 6-5, 275lb champion offensive linemen invited to the White House. Join us. #NDSUinDC #GoBison”
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if Trump noticed the pin.
Since the beginning of the Trump administration, several professional and college athletes, and even whole teams, have declined to visit Trump at the Oval Office or have not been invited at all for various reasons. In many cases, the athletes have publicly admitted that they don’t want to honor Trump with their presence; others have kept quiet; still, others have cited wanting to spend time with their families or otherwise attend to their busy schedules.
Yahoo Sports writer Nick Bromberg notes that Trump and the Republicans have been using the word “socialism” a lot recently in an attempt to paint policies favored by newly-empowered members of the Democratic Party, such as universal health care, as “socialist.” What’s more, the word is discussed in the context of failed socialist states, such as Maduro’s Venezuela. However, says Bromberg, the policies being advanced and the legislative framework behind them are more in line with decades-old policies that exist in much of Europe. Europe, unlike Venezuela, is not currently beset by rampant poverty and crime due to food shortages and government mismanagement.