Stephen Curry is a superstar with the NBA champion Golden State Warriors. The Warriors received an invitation to the White House, pursuant to the longstanding custom of thus honoring championship sports teams.
The Warriors, whose star players and coach are outspoken critics of President Trump, made it known that they were ambivalent at best about visiting the White House. Curry said, “I don’t want to go, that’s my nucleus of my belief.”
President Trump responded by pulling the invitation. He tweeted:
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!
Withdrawing the invitation was the right thing to do, I think. The Warriors, or at least their core players and their coach, didn’t really want to go. If the team had taken a vote, as was contemplated, it would possibly have caused internal division.
Meanwhile, Trump didn’t want to suffer the indignity of having his invitation rejected outright. The solution: pull the invitation.
Curry, though, has taken umbrage at the president’s tweet. He complained:
I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others. I have an idea of why, but, it’s just kind of beneath, I think, a leader of a country to go that route. It’s not what leaders do.
I agree with the view that the U.S. President should not get into pissing contests with celebrities, athletes, and the like. But Curry is being disingenuous. Trump “targeted” him because he’s the face of the Golden State Warriors.
Curry is trying to have it both ways. When Curry says he doesn’t want to visit the White House, he’s not viewing Trump as the leader of our country, but rather as a politician he doesn’t like. When Trump fires back, suddenly Curry sees Trump as the nation’s leader.
Curry’s “why little old me?” act borders on the pathetic. If Curry wants to show his contempt for Trump by refusing to participate in the time-honored tradition of the White House visit, that’s his right. But don’t whine when Trump points out that you didn’t want to attend. Don’t hide behind your less heralded teammates and/or your coach by suggesting that others should have been called out too.
Meanwhile, I can only laugh at this headline from the Washington Post: “Trump turns sports into a political battleground with comments on NFL and Stephen Curry.” Even if one thinks, as I do, that Trump should abstain from talk that mixes politics with sports, it couldn’t be more obvious that athletes like Colin Kaepernick and Stephen Curry are the ones who turned sports into a political battleground.
I respect their right to do so. But please, let’s not pretend that Trump is responsible for the politicization of sports. That’s the work of deep political thinkers like Kaepernick, Curry, etc., egged on by ESPN and left-wing sports commentators.