Fresh off McWinning the national championship, the Clemson football program accepted an invitation from President Donald Trump to celebrate its title at the White House amidst a partial government shutdown. While the fast-food fare was the most discussed aspect of the trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s who wasn’t among the contingent of Tigers to make the trek to D.C. that’ll likely be a topic of conversation over the coming days.
According to TheRoot.com, playing members of the Clemson football team confirmed that a majority of the black football players on the Tigers passed on the opportunity to be feted at the White House, with “some specifically citing racism and their disdain for Trump’s divisive politics,” the website wrote.
From the report:
The Root spoke with three black Clemson players who each separately confirmed that many players, both black and white, had no interest in making the trip. All three acknowledged that Donald Trump was the reason they chose not to attend. Even more telling, most of Clemson’s white players were in attendance while nearly three-fourths of the school’s black football players took a hard pass on the chance to eat cold fries with the president of people who eat salads from McDonald’s.
“It wasn’t like we had a team meeting or anything,” said one of Clemson’s offensive stars who spoke with The Root on the condition of anonymity. “Players were talking amongst each other but everybody was like: ‘I’m not going to that.’
Per the website, 15 of the 57 black Clemson players listed on the team’s official roster attended the event. Of those 15, 11 were freshmen or sophomores; just one senior made the trip.
According to the school, nearly two-thirds of the team was on the trip. “On the championship game roster, 26 players had already received their bachelor’s degree, and had no planned obligations on campus beginning that week,” an email statement to the website from a school spokesperson read in part. A breakdown along racial lines when it comes to those already graduated and did/didn’t attend wasn’t given by the school.
The three black players who confirmed that a majority of their black teammates didn’t make the trip with the rest of the team also confirmed that no one associated with the program, from coaches to football staffers athletic department officials, pressured them to go or attempted to change their minds. Additionally, no one told “them to keep quiet about their reasons for not going,” TheRoot.com noted.