Crosby's Penguins to meet Trump at White House amid NBA, NFL feuds
Stephen Whyno, The Associated Press
Published Sunday, September 24, 2017 11:17AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 24, 2017 2:40PM EDT
PITTSBURGH -- The Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins say they've accepted an invitation from Donald Trump to visit the White House, while players, coaches and owners in the NFL and NBA have been involved in an escalating war of words with the U.S. president.
The Penguins released a statement Sunday saying they respect the office of the president and "the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House." The Penguins were honoured by Barack Obama after winning the Stanley Cup in 2016 and previously by George H.W. Bush in the early 1990s.
"Any agreement or disagreement with a president's politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit," the team said.
"Please to inform that the Champion Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL will be joining me at the White House for Ceremony. Great team!" Trump posted on Twitter on Sunday.
Trump revoked the White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors on Saturday after the team had said they might not accept, a decision that led to rebukes from star players including LeBron James and Chris Paul. He also said that NFL owners should "fire" players who kneel during the national anthem in protest, prompting angry responses from the league and the NFL Players Association, as well as individual coaches and owners.
There isn't much in the way of tension between Trump and the NHL, where Americans make up the minority of players when compared to Canadians and Europeans. Blake Wheeler, a Winnipeg Jets forward from Plymouth, Minn., has been one of the few NHL players to criticize Trump on social media for his comments about protesting athletes in other major professional leagues.
-- With files from The Canadian Press