The Golden State Warriors won their third straight NBA Championship in June, defeating perennial rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers and cementing the Warrior's legacy as the best professional NBA team in recent memory. But since clinching the championship trophy, a dark cloud has been hanging over the Warriors: The traditional visit to the White House. Since June, it's been unclear if the team would accept the invitation because of Curry and Co's well-publicized distaste for the president. Finally, the ambiguity was put to rest on Friday, when Curry revealed that he would like the team to decline their invitation, saying he'd like to "inspire some change in terms of what we can tolerate in this country" by standing up to the Trump Administration.
Needless to say, President Trump was displeased, and in a classic Donald Trump Saturday morning tweetstorm, the president blasted the star point guard for "hesitating" to accept the White House's invitation, before adding that Curry's invite had been "withdrawn":
"Being invited to the White House is considered a great honor," Trump tweeted. "Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn." As the Associated Press pointed out, it isn't immediately clear if Trump rescinded the invitation to Curry, or the entire team.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
Trump also ripped into another Bay Area athlete, former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, last night, implying that the free agent QB is a "son of a bitch" for protesting the National Anthem. Trump's impromptu attack came during a campaign rally for Alabama Senator Luther Strange, who is running in a closely contested special election to keep his seat, to which he was temporarily appointed after Jeff Sessions left the Senate to become the attorney general. During a rant in which he blasted NFL owners and players, Trump said any player who refuses to stand for the anthem "should be fired" for "disrespecting our heritage." He added that the first owner to fire an athlete for protesting would become "the most popular person in this country – for a week." He urged fans to leave the stadium if they see players protesting, before declaring that American Football "is not the same game anymore, anyway."
Trump's remarks elicited a response from the NFL player's association, which said "We will never back down" from standing up to Trump. Predictably, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fired back at President Trump in a statement issued Saturday morning. In the statement, he criticized Trump’s “divisive comments” about team owners firing player for protesting, saying they showed "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL." Of course, the hypocrisy in Goodell's response to Trump is painfully obvious: After all, Kaepernick has effectively been blackballed from the league for his decision to protest.
Circling back to the Warriors, the question now is, if the White House clarifies that the withdrawal of the invite applies only to Curry, will the rest of the team back their star player and stay home? Or will a few decide to continue with the longstanding tradition of White House visits, potentially creating a rift.