Americans are too split up for this sports practice to continue, in my opinion.
Americans are too split up for this sports practice to continue, in my opinion.

People are furious that the University of Georgia football team turned down an offer to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House. Or they’re a lot of fun.

They don’t care if people think Joe Biden is Satan’s second coming. If they think that Joe Biden is hurting the United States. Or they could just go to the MAGA store and buy a new red ball cap and a Rambo Trump flag to match.

Jeff Pearlman is a businessman. – Courtesy Paul Olkowski

If they think Joe Biden will bring America back, they are crazy. Or if they think that the current government is what keeps democracy going. Or if they think it makes the office look bad. People are talking about this a lot on social media. “Bravo, Bulldogs!” “Damn you, Bulldogs!”

The Athens Banner-Herald said that the team said there was a scheduling problem in a statement on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately, the suggested date isn’t possible because of the schedules of student athletes and the time of year. But we’re glad to have been asked and look forward to more chances for Georgia teams in the future,” said a statement that was printed in the Banner-Herald.

The statement didn’t say what stopped them from going to Washington, but Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart said this week that “nothing political” was behind the choice.

Georgia players and fans have criticized the White House for not asking the Bulldogs to meet with the president last year, when the team won the first of two straight national championships. (Last year, White House rules meant that they couldn’t send an offer.)

A month after winning their second national title in a row, defensive lineman Warren Brinson was upset on Twitter that the team still hadn’t been invited to the White House.

“No invite to the White House is crazy,” Brinson wrote in a tweet that included Biden’s @POTUS name. People Magazine says that Georgia politicians asked the President about sending an invitation to the team weeks ago. The White House sent the invitation earlier this week.

In reality, the whole tradition of sports teams going to the White House should probably be put to rest. We, the people, can’t handle it any longer. We’re too young and too split up.

Once upon a time, it was important to win a title and meet the president. The first time it happened was on September 28, 1925, when the Washington Senators, who had just won the American League, went from Griffith Stadium to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to hang out with President Calvin Coolidge.

Even though he wasn’t much of a baseball fan, the 30th president of the United States walked down the line, shook hands with each man, and posed for a picture. The media didn’t criticize Walter Johnson and Goose Goslin for hanging out with the Republican president. Instead, they just told the story and wrote it down. They did their jobs without showing the obvious political views that we do now.

About 40 years later, the Boston Celtics were the first NBA champions to go to the White House. Each player was happy to sit with John F. Kennedy, drink tea and coffee, eat snacks, and talk about Bill Russell’s defense and Bob Cousy’s ball handling. Were there any Celtic people who voted for Richard Nixon in 1960? Probably. Was it brought up? No.

The White House visit as a prize for winning was going strong until 1993, when American golfer Tom Lehman celebrated winning the Ryder Cup by turning down an offer to meet Bill Clinton, who was president at the time.

The website Sports on Earth says that Lehman called America’s 42nd president a “draft-dodging baby killer.” Four years later, Packers tight end Mark Chmura, who was a born-again Christian who didn’t agree with Clinton’s actions, also turned down the chance to be with him after his team won the Super Bowl.

Since then, more and more sports stars have refused to take a day off and shake hands with the president. When he turned down a chance to meet Barack Obama in 2015, Patriots QB Tom Brady said he had to take care of his family. Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Kevin Harvick, and Tony Stewart, all big names in NASCAR, did the same thing.

During the Trump years, a never-ending line of jocks turned down the obligatory Rose Garden picture op. When players did show up, they were often met with hate and anger online. In 2017, when the World Series winner Chicago Cubs came to town, the story wasn’t about an American dream coming true. Instead, it was about whether or not outfielder Albert Almora, as rumors had it, gave the president the finger.

After the LSU Tigers won the NCAA championship, first lady Jill Biden made news when she said that the women’s basketball teams from both Louisiana State University and the University of Iowa should come to the White House. This was a bad idea. When people heard about the idea of sending out two invites, they didn’t like it.

When the dust settled, the lost team wasn’t invited back, but their reputation was hurt. LSU, on the other hand, will be going to the White House later this month.

The sports team visits the White House no longer works, just like our country often feels broken to the point of being in bad shape. We no longer see the president as a person who speaks for our country. He is now a measure of how you feel about yourself—if you voted for Biden, you like him. If you didn’t vote for him, you dislike him. There is no middle ground. No fine points.

That is not what sports need. That’s not what sports teams need. When we want to feel good, we go to a stadium or theater. To scream, cheer, watch the show, and enjoy the happiness.

Sports give us easy joys in a world that is often hard. On the other hand, politics takes away all the fun. It makes us rude, stupid, and small-minded. It’s mean. It stinks.

Once an honor, going to the White House now feels like a chore.

We can’t take it anymore.

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