The women’s basketball champion team from the University of South Carolina has declined President Trump’s invitation to celebrate their NCAA win at the White House on Friday. Coach Dawn Staley insists it's nothing political.
In a statement Thursday evening she said:
“We did hear from the White House about attending (Friday’s) event, but we will not be able to attend. As I’ve been saying since our practices for this season started, all of our focus is on the season ahead. The only invitation we are thinking about is to the 2018 NCAA tournament.”
However, that wasn’t Staley’s initial attitude in April right after they won the coveted title.
“It’s what national champions do. We’ll go to the White House,” she said at the time.
Yet, when the invitation was slow to grace her inbox, Staley seemed perturbed that other teams got an invitation before she did. In September, she said, “We haven’t gotten an invitation yet and that in itself speaks volumes. We won before those other teams won their championships. I don’t know what else has to happen.”
But even with an invitation in hand, Staley’s team isn’t going. (Nor is the North Carolina Tar Heels men’s national champs whose Coach Roy Williams said the team had a scheduling conflict.) So, if it's not political, perhaps it's personal.
Eighteen teams will attend the honor ceremony at the White House on Friday.