When the Boston Red Sox visit the White House next month, a few key players from the World Series-winning team won’t be going along.
According to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network, David Price — who was the franchise’s star pitcher during their championship run over the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2018 — has declined to join the team when they visit President Donald Trump at the White House on May 9.
The 33-year-old said he won’t be going since “it’s baseball season,” and now joins World Series American League MVP Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. as part of the rising number of Red Sox players who won’t be traveling to 1600 Pensylvania Avenue to celebrate their win.
Pitcher Hector Velazquez, 30, cited the tension between the president and Mexico, largely spurred on by Trump’s handling of undocumented immigrants, for his decision to decline the White House invitation.
“I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the president has said a lot of stuff about Mexico,” Velazquez told MassLive.com via a translator. “And I have a lot of people in Mexico that are fans of me, that follow me. And I’m from there. So I would rather not offend anyone over there.”
Red Sox manager Alex Cora has publically criticized Trump, namely for the president’s slow response when sending aid to his native Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria last year. But after the team won the World Series, Cora confirmed in December that he’ll be accompanying the team to the White House, and would refrain from any “embarrassing” controversy during their meeting with Trump.
“I’m gonna use my platform the right way,” Cora told MassLive at the time. “I’m not going to embarrass anybody. Actually, I’m gonna represent 4 million people from back home the right way when we go there.”
Red Sox president Sam Kennedy previously said players are free to skip the ceremony at their own discretion, according to the
RELATED: The Mueller Report Was Finally Released: What It Says About Donald Trump and Russia
“Like in the past, it’s an invitation,” Kennedy told the publication. “It’s not a mandatory, command performance. It’s an opportunity for these guys to get the recognition they deserve for a world championship.”
The tradition of professional sports teams visiting the White House after winning a championship has become a controversial topic during Trump’s presidency, as players and their organizations — affecting nearly every major American sports league — have had to address whether they would be accepting an invitation or not.
RELATED: Cher Claps Back at Donald Trump as a ‘Thug’ and a ‘Lizard Brain’ After He Said They Agreed on Something
Sometimes, teams have even been
After the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA championship, Trump preemptively rescinded the team’s invitation in a tweet, blaming Stephen Curry’s “hesitation” to come.
Last June, after hearing that many Philadelphia Eagles players were planning to skip their trip to the White House following their Super Bowl win, Trump pulled their invitation as well.