President Donald Trump honored the World Series champion Boston Red Sox — well, some of them — at the White House on Thursday, but made no mention of the controversy that shadowed the visit.
The team’s manager, Alex Cora, did not attend the ceremony after citing his frustration with the administration’s efforts to help his native Puerto Rico recover from a devastating hurricane. And nearly a dozen members of the team, all players of color, skipped the opportunity to shake Trump’s hand. Meanwhile, every white player on the team — as well as outfielder J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent — attended.
The Red Sox repeatedly denied that there was any sort of racial divide caused by the White House visit, which has been transformed from moment of celebratory ritual to hyper-politicized event under Trump. And there was no sign of discord during the rained-upon ceremony on the White House South Lawn.cheap nfl jerseys china nike
The U.S. Marine Corps band played versions of “Dirty Water” and “Sweet Caroline,” two unofficial Red Sox anthems. A derogatory shout about the Red Sox’s rival, the New York Yankees, was heard. Trump was presented with a Red Sox jersey with the number 18 on the back.
The day was not without mishaps: The White House first incorrectly labeled the team the “Red Socks” on its website and then later, in an email, dubbed the Red Sox the champions of something called the “World Cup Series.” But Trump himself stuck to the correct script, honoring the team’s dominant run to the title.
The president was accompanied by two of the team’s stars, Martinez and pitcher Chris Sale, from the Oval Office and joined the rest of the team assembled under the South Portico. The team’s third-base coach, Carlos Febles, who is from the Dominican Republic, stood two rows behind the president. And dozens of administration officials and members of government, many of whom hail from the six New England states, stood on the lawn to cheer.
Tom Werner, the team’s chairman, downplayed the no-shows, saying it was each player’s personal decision whether to attend.
“We don’t see it as a racial divide,” he said after the team received a post-ceremony tour of the Lincoln Bedroom. “I think, to the extent that we can, baseball is apolitical.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china
A championship team’s coach rarely, if ever, misses the White House visit, a tradition that began in earnest in 1924 when then-President Calvin Coolidge invited the Washington Senators. Cora had considered attending Thursday’s White House event to call attention to the plight of those in Puerto Rico, where Hurricane Maria is estimated to have caused nearly 3,000 deaths. But in the end, he opted not to go.
“Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting,” Cora said in a statement. “Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”