By Duke Staff
On Sept. 24, the Pittsburgh Penguins officially announced that they will be joining President Donald Trump for a ceremony at the White House in honor of the team’s fifth Stanley Cup Championship, which it won back in June.
The acceptance of the invitation came immediately after National Football League players were criticized by Trump for taking a knee during the national anthem in order to protest police brutality. Elaborating on his distaste for the so-called disrespectors of the United States flag, Trump said he wished owners would see a protesting player and yell, “Get that son of a b***h off the field!”
In light of this disturbing remark further showcasing the president’s hatred of certain groups, the Penguins’ decision to accept Trump’s invitation is incredibly irresponsible and shows nothing but complacency to immorality on the part of the organization.
Granted, the fact that the team didn’t say no is somewhat – albeit very minimally – understandable. Most of the players are foreign white men whose lives have never revolved around much other than hockey, a sport of privilege that takes a lot of money to play due to travel expenses, ice time and high equipment costs. These players’ backgrounds don’t let them fully understand the impact of the Trump administration, and making political statements is far from their biggest concerns.
But that is no excuse. With this invitation, the Penguins had the opportunity to make a strong statement to both their fans and the president, a statement saying that bigotry and the mistreatment of others will not be tolerated. As public figures and role models for people of all different backgrounds, these men ought to be standing up against the hatred that Trump constantly tries to instill in the American people.
Sure, the decision could have been executive, barring the players from expressing their opinions until it comes time to say who will actually attend – because players do, in fact, have the choice to personally skip out on the trip if they wish. But even so, simply accepting the invitation has made both the organization and the sport of hockey look terrible in these detrimental times.
Traditionally, it’s important for a sports team to do its jobs and keep winning games for its city, but right now, nothing about this country is traditional – especially its president. This means that it’s time to forget about the ways of old and actually start combating the current moral crisis that has been brought about by Trump.
Even though many of the players aren’t from America, they are still living and working here, representing one of its most important cities on an international scale. They’re also serving as role models for people of all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.Because of this, players must start sticking up for what is good rather than simply succumbing to the wills of those who sign their paychecks.