The weekend has resulted in sports and politics being fused together into a nauseating blend, thanks in part to President Trump disinviting the Golden State Warriors from the White House. The whole meltdown just shows why the tradition of championship teams visiting the White House needs to end.
On June 12, the Warriors won the NBA title and avenged their heartbreaking 3-1 series choke a year ago to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Not even a full day after the win did questions start flying about whether the Warriors would visit the White House given their vocal criticism of Trump, which made it much harder for fans of the team, like myself, to enjoy the celebration.
Throughout this entire wacky and wild NBA offseason, those questions constantly lingered over the team, devolving into melodrama: Will they visit the White House or will they snub Trump?
Some players, like Kevin Durant, made it clear that they weren’t going to visit the White House. Andre Iguodala actually put the whole ordeal in perspective when he recently stated, “North Korea is on our ass, I heard, so we’ve got bigger problems than some guys shooting baskets going to the White House.”
And then Trump tweeted that he was rescinding his invitation to the Warriors due to Steph Curry “hesitating,” resulting in a massive firestorm across social media.
Sports media and athletes alike puffed up their chests and declared that Trump has made it impossible to simply “stick to sports” (they don’t like being told that). One sports columnist even suggested that Curry would be a better president than Trump.
Suddenly, between Trump disinviting the Warriors and his condemnation of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, social media has turned into a sports world vs. Trump war. This is absolutely toxic for American society as a whole, because people tune into sports as a means to tune out the daily stresses of life. But that enjoyment is ruined when a sports figure pontificates about politics, which is why the phrase “stick to sports” is thrown around so much.
There has to be a wall of separation between sports and politics, and one of the best ways to do that would be to end the tradition of championship teams visiting the White House. As Ben Shapiro wrote in June, “If we don’t want athletes getting political, the easiest way to avoid that eventuality is to prevent politicians from trying to co-opt athletic popularity.”
If the tradition hadn’t existed, a White House visit wouldn’t have ever been a topic of discussion and this whole ordeal would have been avoided. It’s simply better for political figures to stick to politics and sports figures to stick to sports. Otherwise, people will resent the former and tune out the latter.