SportsPulse: USA TODAY’s hockey insider Kevin Allen details the story lines that you should pay attention to this season.
USA TODAY Sports
A day after President Trump rescinded his White House invitation to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, the Pittsburgh Penguins – the NHL’s most recent champions – said they “have accepted an invitation to attend this year.”
The Warriors, led by Steph Curry, reiterated their stance that they didn’t want to visit the White House on Friday. Trump then followed up by tweeting, “Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”
The Penguins have won back-to-back Stanley Cup titles.
“The Pittsburgh Penguins respect the institution of the Office of the President, and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House,” the team said in a statement Sunday. “We attended White House ceremonies after previous championships – touring the historic building and visiting briefly with Presidents George H.W. Bush and Barack Obama – and have accepted an invitation to attend again this year.
“Any agreement or disagreement with a president’s politics, policies or agenda can be expressed in other ways. However, we very much respect the rights of other individuals and groups to express themselves as they see fit.”
President Trump responded to the Penguins’ announcement Sunday afternoon, tweeting that he was “pleased” that they accepted the invitation.
The Penguins’ statement also comes amid a firestorm of criticism from NFL teams, and subsequent national anthem protests, after Trump lashed out at an Alabama rally at NFL players who have not stood during the national anthem.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now,” Trump said Friday. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”
Trump has since tweeted on Saturday and Sunday, recommending the NFL “fire or suspend” players who kneel…