Devante Smith-Pelly won’t be the only player staying home when the Washington Capitals visit the House to celebrate their Stanley Cup victory.
Brett Connolly told reporters at BioSteel Camp in Toronto on Wednesday that he will forgo the team’s trip to the White House if they’re invited this fall.
“Personally, I don’t think I’m gonna go. It has nothing to do with politics,” Connolly said. “For me, I just don’t think it’s the right thing to do. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and I think there will be a few guys not going, too,” Connolly said.
Not sure how this isn’t about politics, but good on Connolly for going out on a limb for what he believes is right.
Smith-Pelly, who was a victim of racist taunts while sitting in the penalty box in Chicago last season, said on Tuesday that it was an “easy-decision” to sit it out. In June, the Scarborough native explained why he wouldn’t attend.
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist. 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.”
Skipping the annual tradition has been commonplace across all sports since Donald Trump took office. The Super Bowl champion Eagles were uninvited by Trump in June due to player protests during the national anthem. Trump did the same to the Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018. The Patriots attended the celebration in 2017, albeit without around two dozen players, including star QB Tom Brady. In MLB, the Astros had a strong turnout in March with only Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran opting not to go, while the Cubs made an unofficial visit in June 2017. The only team to show up in full for an official visit was the Pittsburgh Penguins last fall.
Chances are the majority of the Capitals will follow Pittsburgh’s lead and turn out of for the trip, but by the sound of Connolly’s comments it sure seems like a few more players could join him and Smith-Pelly on the sidelines.
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