It’s unfortunate that Mike Rizzo felt compelled to defend his Washington Nationals team visit to the White House and this is emblematic of the political climate in the United States. It’s undeniable that President Trump is a lightning rod, and that many people love him and many others hate him; but Rizzo and his team should just be allowed to celebrate their World Series success, rather than having to spend time defending something, that until Trump’s inauguration, was pretty routine in American society.
USA Today Sports: After capping their run through October with a thrilling seven-game World Series win over the Houston Astros, it was all love, parties and parades for the Washington Nationals.
Until they visited President Donald Trump in the White House on Monday, Nov. 4.
The Nats received widespread backlash for being too chummy with the president, and catcher Kurt Suzuki was lambasted for putting on a “Make America Great Again” cap to take the podium as Trump hugged him from behind.
“We weren’t trying to make a political statement, whatsoever,’’ general manager Mike Rizzo told USA TODAY Sports speaking on the White House visit, in a wide-ranging conversation about the club’s crucial offseason. “We just thought that the honor and the tradition of champions being invited to the White House and the office of the president, and especially us being the hometown team in their backyard two miles away from the capital, is something that should be done.
“Obviously, each player could make their own decision whether they wanted to attend, but most of the players were excited by it.”
“You’re in a situation where you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t,” Rizzo said. “I don’t have a political bone in my body. I vote for who I want. I don’t care what the party is. I vote every election. I’m listed as an Independent. My dad was a city worker in the city of Chicago for 45 years. We voted Democrat for the [Richard] Daleys a lot. I voted Republican sometimes.
“The office of the president is something that we respect. We felt we should be there. We also felt we should do it with everyone still in town there, or not do it at all.”