The Golden State Warriors would be making a mistake by skipping a visit to the White House to celebrate their NBA world title with President Donald Trump because it would be a missed opportunity.
That is the assessment of Fox Sports commentator Jason Whitlock.
The former ESPN analyst, whose views seldom fit into either the left or right paradigm, is a vocal critic of what he considers the march of progressive politics into sports culture.
It is traditional that college and professional championship teams meet with whoever the president is at the time. Presumably, the Warriors visit, if it happens, would take place next season when the San Francisco/Oakland-based NBA team is in town for a matchup with the Washington Wizards.
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 that the team would make a decision about going if or when an invitation emerges.
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.
Earlier this year, Under Armour endorser Curry slammed the company’s CEO Kevin Plank for suggesting that a pro-business president like Trump is an asset for the economy. Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr has also thrown shade on Trump from time to time.
In an appearance on the Fox Business Channel, Jason Whitlock insisted that the Golden State Warriors should not follow the lead of social justice warriors and instead take advantage of the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the president
“This is a San Francisco, Silicon Valley-based basketball team. Steph Curry is part of that culture that instead of engaging with people we disagree with, we want to eliminate people we disagree with. American has never been about that. That’s not a healthy strategy. If Steph Curry and members of the Golden State Warriors have strong disagreements with President Trump, they should go engage him in debate and discussion, and make their disagreements known to him, and give him an opportunity to react. This whole thing of resist, and we’re not going to deal with this person, and we’re going to ignore this person, it’s unhealthy, it’s un-American, it’s really cowardly. I like Steph Curry a lot, but he is a young person being led astray by social media and people in this country that just want to overthrow everything.”
Watch Whitlock’s remarks in the clip embedded below.
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If the White House determines through a form of back-channel communication or the equivalent that the Warriors would turn down the meet and greet, it’s likely that no invitation would be extended, however, so it seems the ball is in Golden State’s court, as it were. Trump could also make it known that he is willing to discuss issues with the players during their visit.
During his long career in the pre-politics media spotlight, Donald Trump — a former Democrat and independent who ran for president on the GOP ticket — regularly mixed with the New York and Hollywood celebrities as well as many pro athletes and they with him. It’s only after he became a political candidate that Trump, for various reasons, became unacceptable to many of those on the show business circuit.
Warriors say they haven't received an invitation from the White House, but will decide when and if necessary on whether they'll go or not. pic.twitter.com/iRoAyfDfBh— KPIX 5 (@CBSSF) June 13, 2017
Whitlock — the former Kansas City Star and Huffington Post columnist, and Ball State University football player — rejoined Fox Sports after two tours of duty with ESPN. With Colin Cowherd, another ESPN expatriate, Jason Whitlock co-hosts Speak For Yourself, an offering on the ratings-challenged Fox Sports 1 (FS1) TV channel airing weekdays at 5 p.m. Eastern time, which appears to be the Fox network’s answer to ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption.
As an aside, Las Vegas favored the Golden State Warriors by nine points over the Cavaliers in the decisive Game 5. Interestingly enough, the Warriors won by nine points, which is a “push” in gambler terminology.
[Featured Image by John Amis/AP Images]