A customary thing in the United States for the championship teams in major sports leagues to be invited to the White House. If that happens, NBA champion and Finals MVP Kevin Durant plans on sitting that one out.
“Nah, I won’t do that,” the MVP told ESPN.
“I don’t respect who’s in office right now,” he said, referring to President Donald Trump.
Durant continued, “I don’t agree with what he agrees with, so my voice is going to be heard by not doing that. That’s just me personally … I definitely want to be the voice of where I come from and people who have come from my neighborhood and deal with oppression.”
The Warriors are still to receive an invitation from the President.
Trump welcomed Super Bowl champions the New England Patriots in April. At least 12 players, including running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long and safety/team captain Devin McCourty, skipped the visit.
“I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” McCourty said in an interview with Time magazine.
Durant, 28, also mentioned last week’s incident in Charlottesville, where 32-year-old Heather Heyer was killed when a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters who were opposing a group of white nationalists demonstrating against the planned removal of a Confederate statue. Durant called the events “unfathomable.”
Trump has said the man who killed Heyer is a “disgrace to himself, his family and this country,” but he also took a more neutral stance on the incident itself, blaming both sides for the violence and adding that there were “very fine people” in both groups of demonstrators.
“I feel ever since [Trump] got into office, or since he ran for the presidency, our country has been so divided, and it’s not a coincidence,” Durant added. “When [Barack] Obama was in office, things were looking up. We had so much hope in our communities where I come from because we had a black president, and that was a first. So to see that and to be where we are now, it just felt like we took a turn for the worse.”
Durant believes “leadership trickles down” and that the office of the president should lead by example.
“For us to move forward, we need more athletes and people of power and influence to come out and speak,” he said.