The Red Sox, World Series champions last year, were invited to visit the White House this week. About one-third of the team, including the manager, did not attend. The team split along racial lines, with almost exclusively white athletes making the trip.
This is nothing new for the Trump Presidency. While past Presidents have welcomed and been visited by all championship teams, half of the 20 championship teams during the Trump administration were either not invited when they made it clear they wouldn’t attend or declined the invitation completely.
The ceremonies for the other half were often marred by the absence of notable players, the presence of players who looked unhappy, teams that appeared to be embarrassed about the trip, and the growing habit of serving fast food to world-class athletes.
Yesterday, I listened to former Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira on the Michael Kay Show explain that a division like this can permanently damage a team. He questioned the Hispanic and African American players who refused to attend the ceremony, advising players to keep politics out of the game for the good of the team.
I was on a treadmill at the gym at the time, but still, I yelled at the screen. “Maybe they just didn’t want to go to the racist’s house!”
The woman to my right looked in my direction. I offered an apologetic smile.
But it’s true.
Maybe the manager, Alex Cora, a Puerto Rican, didn’t want to visit a man who has been blatantly and unequivocally lying about the amount of hurricane relief that has been provided to the island.
Maybe the African American players didn’t want to visit the man who refers to African nations as “shithole countries.”
Maybe the immigrant players didn’t want to break bread with a man who separated families on the border, put migrant children in cages, and lost track of those children when it came time for reunification.
Maybe all of the players of color didn’t want to shake hands with the man who declared that white supremacists are “very fine people.” The man who white supremacists think of as one of their own.
Hell, maybe some of those players didn’t want to spend time with a self-admitted sex offender.
And maybe… just maybe the white players should’ve felt the same.
Yes, this racial division might do damage to the Red Sox team, but why isn’t Teixeira suggesting that the white players on the team instead support the players of color? Why can’t the answer be “Don’t visit the racist” instead of “Keep politics out of baseball.”
This is not an issue of politics. This is not a normal Presidency. This is a President who repeatedly demonstrates his disdain for people of color through both words and actions. This is not an argument over the size of government, marginal tax rates, universal healthcare, or even abortion. This is an objectively racist man. If players of color don’t want to visit the racist’s house, they shouldn’t be criticized by anyone. Instead, they should be supported by their teammates,
The Red Sox sent the white Sox to the White House this week. The white Sox should’ve stayed home.