By: Michail Vafeiadis
Posted: Jan. 25th,2012
Tim Thomas and the Boston Bruins won the NHL‘s Stanley Cup last June. It’s an annual tradition that US championship sports teams receive an invitation from the President to be honored at the White House for their athletic feats.
However, there is a small portion of those ‘privileged’ individuals who have turned down such invitations on political, moral and personal grounds. Thomas, the Bruins goalie, is the latest to join the group.
Here’s a list of six athletes who have snubbed American presidents.
The indefinite postponement of the 1986 Chicago Bears White House reception, due to the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, reached an abrupt end when 25 years later President Obama invited his favorite NFL team.
However, NFL Hall of Famer Dan Hampton declined the invitation.
“It’s my own personal choice that I choose not to go,” Hampton said, according to the Huffington Post.
“You know, life’s about opportunities and seizing the moment. And you know what, I understand why we didn’t go the week after the game — or two weeks or three weeks — because if indeed it was the Challenger that the White House and the regular administration was dealing with, I understand that. But there were other months — March, April, May, June — we could of went,” he said.
“This is how I feel — if you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl. As far as I’m concerned, he would’ve invited Arizona if they had won,” Harrison told WTAE Channel 4 in 2009.
“Personally, I wouldn’t care who the president is or if I saw eye-to-eye with him politically. The chance to be honored at the White House is an opportunity most people will never get to experience,” Hill told ESPN, the Huffington Post reports.
In an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Chmura said he now regrets this decision.
“The truth is I had committed to Mike Utley’s golf tournament. We had the same agent, it was something I had done every year since 1992, the guy was paralyzed . . . But . . . when I look back, I should have went. I should have gone. I was still immature,” the former Packer tight end said.
However, Jordan defended his action. “Because I choose to spend a few days privately with my family, everybody is saying that I’m disrespecting the team and disrespecting the President,” JET magazine reported.
And he added, “I’m not disrespecting the President. He has a family so he understands that.”
However, teammate Horace Grant was not happy with Jordan’s decision.
“It’s a double standard, and it’s been a double standard for the four years that I’ve played here,” he said.
After the Boston Celtics won the 1984 NBA title, Larry Bird also declined a White House invitation. When asked by a reporter about his decision, Bird said the president knew where to find him, according to the Chicago Tribune.