Commentary: Some professional sports teams dismiss the White House invitation

Commentary: Some professional sports teams  dismiss the White House invitation
June 21
04:00 2018

By James B. Ewers Jr.

College and professional sports go on year-round. You can always turn on the television to watch your favorite team. There are so many sports channels these days that you can literally watch teams 24 hours a day.

Many of us have been watching sports on television for so long that we don’t remember when we started. As a young boy, I can recall watching the Washington Redskins football team on Sunday afternoon. I grew up as a fan of the Redskins. It wasn’t that I was fond of their football team, it was simply the only pro football team that was on in Winston-Salem. Their team was, simply put, the only game in town. I don’t believe the Redskins won any championships, at least during that time.

Regarding baseball, I can vaguely recollect watching the Milwaukee Braves. I can remember a few of their players like Hank Aaron and Warren Spahn. Quite honestly, I don’t know how the Braves captured my attention. Maybe it was because Hank Aaron hit so many home runs.

I didn’t sit inside and watch a lot of professional baseball games. It was summer time and I spent my time outside playing with my friends. Did the Braves win any championships during my childhood? I have forgotten, if they did. I can only remember the New York Yankees winning baseball championships.

Today, I can unapologetically say I am a sports fan. If truth be told, I probably watch some sporting event every day. I watch a lot of individual sports like tennis. Kudos to the tennis channel as it keeps you up to date. These sports channels give you all the highlights and even lowlights you can handle.

Back in the day, you didn’t hear a lot about sports teams being invited to the White House. That could have been because I was young and wasn’t paying attention. Teams would win championships, have a parade and everybody went home happy.

Now in recent memory, championship teams are being invited to the White House to meet the president. On the surface, that seems to be cool and harmless. The first professional basketball team to visit the White House was the champion Boston Celtics in 1963. President John F. Kennedy invited them.

This tradition of inviting championship teams to Washington has been a great touch for both the sitting president and the teams involved.

The Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship on June 8 and decided not to go to the White House. They were disinvited, however. LeBron James and Steph Curry said they didn’t want to go anyway.

The current president just doesn’t get it. He has ostracized so many people and groups that he has lost count. There is a presidential atmosphere that the Warriors don’t like, and they have voiced their opposition. This follows the Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles, who said they were only going to send a small number of players and thus, they were disinvited. Mr. T will probably have to go out and buy a jersey because he won’t be getting one from the Eagles or Warriors.

It is a sad day in America when no clear-thinking person or group wants to have ice cream and cake with the president of the United States of America.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C Smith University where he was all-conference for four years. He is the President Emeritus of The Teen Mentoring Committee of Ohio and a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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