Washington Capitals forward Brett Connolly said he would refuse to go with his team to the White House, if President Donald Trump invites the Stanley Cup winners there to celebrate their 2018 championship.
Connolly, a Canadian citizen, insisted it “has nothing to do with politics,” Sportsnet.ca reported.
“For me, I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do,” Connolly said. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think there’ll be a few guys not going, too. Like I said, it has nothing to do with politics. It’s about what’s right and wrong. And we’ll leave it at that.”
Connolly joins Capitals forward Devante Smith-Pelly who already announced he would refuse a visit to the Trump White House. Smith-Pelly accused Trump of being “straight-up racist.”
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly reportedly said. “Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with. It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.”
On the other hand, several members of the team have said they would love to visit the White House. Team Captain Alex Ovechkin, for one, said he “can’t wait.”
For his part, the president said that he’d be happy to have the Capitals visit, but only if they want to do so and won’t make it a political attack.
“I think we’ll have the Caps. We’ll see. You know, my attitude is if they want to be here on the greatest place on Earth, I’m here. If they don’t want to be here, I don’t want them,” Trump said in June.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.