Following a historic victory in the World Series, the Washington Nationals were assumed to be headed to the White House to follow a tradition set by previous champions.
However, it does not look like every teammate will be attendance for that trip.
Pitcher Sean Doolittle recently stated in an interview with The Washington Post that he will be declining any trip to the White House to meet Donald Trump due to what he referred to as “divisive rhetoric.”
“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country,” Doolittle said, per The Washington Post. “At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it. I just can’t do it.”
Doolittle is the 1st member of the team to opt out of the visit to meet Trump, and as we’ve seen over the years, there have been several players and even entire teams that have done the same thing since Donald Trump has been in office.
While Doolittle respects his teammates decision to go, he believes that taking part in the festivities sends a mixed message to those that he associates with, which include LGBTQ relatives and an autistic family member.
“I want to show support for them. I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them,” Doolittle continued. “I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and [Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.”
“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president,” Doolittle said. “And I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”
“The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,” Doolittle said, referring to racism and white supremacy. “That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”
The 33-year-old Doolittle had two saves and three holds in nine appearances for the Nationals this postseason.