Another team has decided to pass on the fast food fiesta at the Trump White House. The University of Virginia Cavaliers basketball team, the national champions of this year’s men’s NCAA tournament, have sent a message to President Donald Trump to say that they won’t be able to make the trip up 95N to Washington, D.C.
TMZ Sports says that the team says that it’s nothing personal against Trump, but the team is just very busy. The team certainly felt like celebrating after winning their first national championship, beating Texas Tech 85-77 in overtime, but coach Tony Bennett says that with players graduating, final exams, and the NBA draft coming, the two-and-a-half hour drive just won’t fit into their schedule.
“With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation.”
At a news conference in Charlottesville, Virginia, on April 13, Bennett was asked if the team would make the trip to the White House, and he said the decision would be made at a later date by the team as a whole.
Soon after the news conference, De’Andre Hunter, a redshirt sophomore, and Ty Jerome, a junior, declared for the NBA draft via social media posts.
The University of Virginia Men's basketball team is declining to visit the White House after winning the national championship.https://t.co/JrI7ymg5wB— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) April 26, 2019
Later, star players Kyle Guy and Mamadi Diakite also confirmed on social media that they would be entering the draft with the intention of going pro.
But Hunter made the decision to skip the White House visit a bit clearer by posting, “No Thanks Trump,” along with two laughing emojis on Twitter.
It’s unclear whether it is a coincidence or not that the Charlottesville school declined Trump’s invitation on the same day that the president commented on the march near UVA which led to the death of resident Heather Heyer, reiterating that there were “fine people” on both sides of the conflict.
On the lawn of the White House, Trump said that those marching were supporters of Robert E. Lee, a Confederate general who the president referred to as well-respected. Trump doubled down on his “fine people” comment saying that the question was “answered perfectly.”
The University of Virginia Cavaliers will be the third consecutive national championship team in NCAA basketball to skip the fete at the White House. North Carolina, in 2017, declined the invitation, and last year, Villanova said that they never received a call or notice from the White House.