It’s traditional for the winning Super Bowl team to visit the White House and meet the president, but this year several members of the New England Patriots have decided to skip the ceremony because they disapprove of President Donald Trump.
While it’s certainly their decision whether or not to attend a celebration held in their honor, they were encouraged to forgo the meeting by an inappropriate source — a sports journalist.
Shannon Sharpe, co-host of Fox Sports’ “Skip and Shannon: Undisputed,” advised the champions to boycott the White House visit.
Sharpe and co-host Skip Bayless were discussing the situation during their Feb. 8 show, including the concerns some members of the Patriots had expressed regarding Trump.
Sharpe argued that the entire team should send a message by breaking the Super Bowl championship tradition and uniting in a boycott of the event.
Bayless asked Sharpe what he would do in their place.
“Not go. As a group,” Sharpe responded, according to Fox Sports. “At the end of the day, you make the best decision, but I’m just saying, for us, the message that we are going to send that we are united, we are a team, we won this together. We’ve lost and cried and shed sweat and blood together. If we go — if part of us goes, and the other part stays — that says ‘divided.’ And so I would recommend that we do not go, that we do not attend.”
As of Wednesday, two members of the Patriots — Martellus Bennet and Devin McCourty — had announced their intention to skip the D.C. visit, but two days later Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch and Dont’a Hightower joined the boycott, according to CNN.
McCourty said he made that decision because he believed he was not “accepted” at Trump’s White House because of certain “prejudices” held by the president.
Sharpe went even farther during his show, saying that the boycott was a stand against “misogyny,” “racism” and “xenophobia,” arguing that it wasn’t about the professional football players who have a voice but for the people who do not.
While Sharpe and the Patriots certainly have the right to disagree with the president — as others outspokenly disagreed with President Barack Obama — they should be mindful when hurling these serious allegations about the president, as their platforms make them more persuasive to young people who should be making up their own minds about Trump and his policies.
Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder what would have happened to a sports journalist who dared encourage a football team to boycott President Obama’s White House Super Bowl celebration. Something tells me that journalist would have found himself on the receiving end of racism allegations and out of a job.
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