Red Sox' Cora Says White House Visit Decision Not Creating Friction
Red Sox manager Alex Cora does not believe the team's upcoming trip to the White House is an "issue within the clubhouse" despite the majority of team personnel planning to attend being white and those "declining to go minorities," according to Michael Silverman of the BOSTON HERALD. Players "could still change their mind" either way and 2B Eduardo Núñez reportedly has "not yet decided." Cora has "zero regrets" about his choice to skip the visit. He said that he "expected there to be plenty of reaction to his decision." Cora: "If I were to go, they would have talked about it anyways. Not going is the same thing. I’m comfortable with the decision" (BOSTON HERALD, 5/7). In Boston, Adrian Walker writes it is an "awkward" situation for the Red Sox and ownership, which has "made a point of distancing itself from the team’s racist history." Red Sox President & CEO Sam Kennedy said that the team "did not want to make a political statement by declining an invitation from the White House." He said, "The most important thing was to be consistent. This is all about giving the players this opportunity they deserved." Kennedy added: "We don’t see this as an endorsement of a particular politician or a set of policies or procedures" (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/7).
WHY GO AT ALL? ESPN's Bomani Jones wondered if the White House trip is "going to divide your team in this way, I would think it would be better for the team to decline" the invitation altogether. Jones: “If that much of your team is not going, then your team is not going. This is not any sort of sign of unity or anything else if you make that call” (“High Noon,” ESPN, 5/6). USA TODAY's Gabe Lacques writes President Trump's "rhetoric is impossible to ignore." It is "one thing to disagree with a president." It is "quite another to feel that your well-being and that of your family are threatened by him." The "elephant in the room, of course, is the fact that the front office and a slight majority of Red Sox players will attend." Unless Red Sox P Eduardo Rodriguez or LF Andrew Benintendi "opt to attend/not attend, respectively (their intent is not yet publicly known), it’s impossible not to notice the decisions breaking along racial lines" (USATODAY.com, 5/6).
TIME FOR CHANGE? In Massachusetts, Matt Vautour writes there is "nothing wrong with athletes being politically active or taking a stand," but the tradition of visiting the White House after a championship "encourages grandstanding now." The Red Sox are "just the latest to try to navigate their way across it and the waters have been choppy." Trump and all Presidents who follow him "should skip a step and stop inviting teams at all because right now nobody is coming out unscathed" (MASSLIVE.com, 5/7).