Politics haven’t always influenced a team’s invitation to the White House. Sometimes athletes had prior obligations, family matters, but the recent trend is to buck the current administration. Here is a brief history of professional champion teams that skipped a trip to the White House.
David Price joins fellow Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers and Hector Velasquez that will miss the White House ceremony for the team’s 2018 World Series win. President Trump canceled White House honors for the 2018 Super Bowl Champions after practically every player and coach boycotted attendance. In its place, the president invited the US Marine Band and Army Chorus for a celebration of America. After the Warriors championship win in 2017, Steph Curry was vocal about not wanting to attend a White House ceremony, even before getting a formal invitation. President Trump responded by tweet and disinvited Curry, although the team, as a whole, had yet to decide whether they would attend given the invitation. The four-time WNBA champions Minnesota Lynx never got an invite to the White House after their 2017 win. Coach Cheryl Reeve suggested the Trump administration wouldn't prioritize women's sports honors. Previously, the Obama White House hosted the Lynx after winning championships in 2011, 2013 and 2015. Tom Brady skipped out on a White House visit, twice. Both in 2015 and 2017, Brady said he had family obligations to be absent for the Patriots celebration. Houston Astros' Carlos Correa and Carlos Beltran were both absent when the team went to the White House after the 2017 World Series. Correa and Beltran were born in Puerto Rico. Speculation about the administration's response to hurricane disaster relief might have influenced both players' decision to miss the ceremony. The Ravens C Matt Birk declined an invite to the Obama White House in 2013. He referenced his pro-life values and his disagreements with President Obama's policies, and a speech given for Planned Parenthood, for not going. For Steelers LB James Harrison, there really wasn't much of an excuse to skip out on White House ceremonies. In 2006 and 2009, he said the honors weren't a big deal. Manny Ramirez was the only one from the 2007 Red Sox to miss out on the White House Honors. President Bush joked that Ramirez was not on hand because his grandmother passed away. In actuality, Ramirez was out because his grandmother was ill. Perhaps the invasion of Iraq could have been the excuse the Bush White House forgot to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2003 Super Bowl. The St. Louis Rams did not receive any invite from the Clinton White House following their 2000 Super Bowl win. It might have been because the president was brokering a peace deal in the Middle East. Another case of no invitation from the Clinton administration, the Denver Broncos were never hosted after the 1999 Super Bowl. The celebration would have happened right in the middle of the Clinton sex scandal and possible impeachment. The New York Giants never got an invite to the Bush White House in 1991, possibly due to the beginning of the Gulf War. Instead of joining the 1991 champion Bulls, Michael Jordan skipped a White House party to play golf in South Carolina. The 1985 Chicago Bears were on top of the world ahead of the 1986 Super Bowl. However, it was poor timing after the Bears clinched the championship. Two days after, the space shuttle Challenger disaster occurred and the nation was in mourning. There was no ceremony held by the Reagan administration. In 2011, President Obama rescheduled the honors and held a ceremony for the team. Larry Bird, Cedric Maxwell and Robert Parish were among the 1984 Boston Celtics who skipped a White House visit. Maxwell's excuse was understandable, as he was getting ready for his wedding. While there was no reason for Parish's absence, Bird told the Reagan administration, "If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me." The White House wouldn't start hosting NFL champions on a regular basis until the late 1980s. So for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, there was no Washington party. When President Obama invited the team in 2013, on the 40th anniversary of the Dolphins' Super Bowl win, players Manny Fernandez, Bob Kuechenberg and Jim Langer were absent from the ceremony. All three cited their dislike of the administration for declining honors.