The Washington Capitals professional hockey team still has to win one more game to win the Stanley Cup but one of the team’s stars has already decided if there is an invitation for the champions to visit the White House, he will not be going.
Devante Smith-Pelly, a Canadian citizen who is one of the two black players on the team, told Canada’s National Post that he opposes the rhetoric he has heard from the U.S. president.
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly.
“Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross,” he added. “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.”
The Capitals look likely to win hockey’s top prize because they currently lead the Las Vegas Black Knights by three games to one in the best of seven series.
That is in part because of Smith-Pelly, who has scored six goals and had one assist so far in the playoffs this season.
Devante Smith-Pelly, one of two black players on the Washington Capitals, says he will not visit the Trump White House if his team wins the Stanley Cup. "The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist." https://t.co/1lXGVaJWhR
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 7, 2018
Smith-Pelly was the subject of racist slurs made against him in a February game in Chicago.
“Things that he’s saying about immigrants and people of color, I don’t think anyone here would agree with that,” said Smith-Pelly. “We’ve got a lot of Europeans and a lot of Canadians.”
Pelly-Smith is in good company with his declaration. The biggest star in basketball, LeBron James has said he will not go to the Trump White House if his team wins the NBC championship.
Last year, after Golden State Warrior superstar Steph Curry said he would not go, Trump disinvited his entire team from a White House visit.
Trump did that again last week when he disinvited the Philadephia Eagles football team, the champions of the most recent Super Bowl because he said too many of them did not agree on his position against athletes kneeling in protest at games when the American national anthem is played.
“I’m not surprised. It’s typical of him,” James told reporters after Trump canceled the Eagles visit. “I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway. So it won’t be Golden State or Cleveland going.”
While politics may be an All American sport, it is unusual in hockey where the Canadian tradition is more the tradition.
Smith-Pelly’s teammates say they will decide what to do when and if they win and get an invitation.
However, it is clear that Trump’s politics of division are not playing any better in the sports world than his trade politics are playing with the countries in the G-7.
Maybe Trump will have another Star-Spangled listening party if sports teams keep refusing his offer. Hopefully, next time he will bother to learn the words.