Since the election of President Donald Trump, there have been questions about whether or not title-winning players and coaches will visit the White House or if the President would extend an invitation at all.
According to the Associated Press, NCAA women’s basketball champion Dawn Staley would accept an offer to visit Trump in the White House if one was offered. Staley and South Carolina won the Gamecocks’ first title in program history on Sunday night, beating Mississippi State 67-55.
“Yeah, I’m going to the White House,” the South Carolina coach told the AP. “It’s what it stands for. It’s what national champions do. We’ll go to the White House.”
South Carolina’s star player A’ja Wilson told the AP that she would also happily accept the opportunity to visit Washington.
“I’ve never really been to the White House,” Wilson said. “It should be exciting to go with this group of girls. We’re going to have fun, so I’m excited. Honestly, I’m just going to go and enjoy the moment, just take it all in. This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing, so why not enjoy it?”
For Staley, visiting the White House isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime trip — she has been to the residence before. She made the trip in 2004 when George W. Bush was in office and she was representing the U.S. Olympic team.
Several athletes have declined invitations to the White House in opposition of President Trump’s election and policies. The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who are scheduled to make the trip later this month, will be the first team to visit the White House under the new President. Several players, including tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive end Chris Long and running back LeGarrette Blount said they will not be going.
Blout said that he is not going because, “I will NOT be going to the White House. I don’t feel welcome in that house. I’ll leave it at that.”