Megan Rapinoe and other members of the champion U.S. Women’s National Team have vowed to skip a traditional visit with President Donald Trump at the White House after their World Cup win.
In a new interview, former Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala, whose team did not visit Trump after either of two NBA championships won during his presidency, explained why the decision to forgo a White House visit is “quite simple.”
“We don't want to feel like we’re supporting something that we don't believe in,” Iguodala, who now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, says of himself and his former Warriors teammates. “We have certain beliefs.”
“If it's something that we feel like we're not aligned with, or we feel like we can't help or try to change any type of way, we try to stay away from it,” he adds.
Like members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, the Warriors indicated they would not visit Trump at the White House prior to winning titles in 2017 and 2018. After both championships, Trump rescinded invitations before the team could formally decline. Last year, NBA superstar Lebron James responded to the move by Trump, tweeting, “U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain't going! So therefore ain't no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”
Weeks before winning the World Cup, Rapinoe told Eight by Eight Magazine that she would not visit Trump at the White House if the team were to take home the title. In a series of tweets last week, Trump responded to her remarks.
“Megan should never disrespect our Country, the White House, or our Flag, especially since so much has been done for her & the team,” he said. “Be proud of the Flag that you wear. The USA is doing GREAT!”
“Megan should WIN first before she TALKS! Finish the job!” Trump added.
After the team won the World Cup championship on Sunday, Rapoinoe reiterated her commitment to skip the visit. "I don't think anyone on the team has any interest in lending the platform that we've worked so hard to build and the things that we fight for and the way that we live our life,” she told Anderson Cooper. “I don't think that we want that to be co-opted or corrupted by this administration."
After a congratulatory tweet to the team, Trump told reporters on Sunday that he is considering whether to invite them to the White House.
‘This is really not about us’
In contrast, Iguodala described his and the Warriors’ choice in less confrontational terms. “It's not that we're against someone else's beliefs, but it's just something we don't believe in,” he says.
Iguodala made the comments to Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer in a conversation that airs on Yahoo Finance in an episode of “Influencers with Andy Serwer,” a weekly interview series with leaders in business, politics, and entertainment.
In the interview, Iguodala elaborated further on his and his teammates’ choice to skip the White House visit.
“This is really not about us,” he says. “It's about others and how they've been affected throughout this whole process...especially when it affects others who come from the same environments that we grew up in.”
Iguodala, who grew up in Springfield, Illinois in the 1980s, describes the segregation of his hometown in a recently released memoir, “The Sixth Man.”
“From the perspective of early childhood, the black world was the only world there was,” he writes. “Officially, Springfield is not a segregated town, but officialities don’t matter in race. Springfield is segregated.”
Throughout his career, Iguodala has spoken out on racial issues faced by professional athletes. Most controversially, in 2017, Iguodala responded to a question about coach Steve Kerr’s choice to sit him out of a game, saying “I do what master say.” Iguodala was fined $10,000 by the NBA for the comment, which he later clarified.
In the memoir, Iguodala describes what he considers the expectation that athletes remain silent about racial and political issues.
“We’re supposed to take the money and be quiet,” he writes. “We’re supposed to be grateful that we’ve been given an opportunity to have wealth, to send our kids to private schools. And the exchange is that we aren’t supposed to say anything about anyone.”
Andy Serwer is editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter: @serwer.