It’s become a long-standing tradition for Championship sports teams to visit the White House and meet the president. However, some Boston Red Sox team members were not present for Thursday’s meet-and-greet.
The team’s manager and a number of players chose to boycott the meeting as a protest.
The Boston Red Sox baseball team was invited to the White House on Thursday afternoon. They appeared on the South Lawn together with President Donald Trump to take a number of pictures.
The team was being honored by the president for winning 2018's World Series. However, the team Manager Alex Cora and some of the team’s biggest stars were absent on the day in protest of the way Trump handled the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
On Sunday, Cora released a statement saying: “I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different.” The team’s manager was born in Puerto Rico.
He further explained: “As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.” Cora was joined by team members who were either Latino or African-American.
Earlier in the week Boston sports columnist Steve Buckley tweeted: "Alex Cora has confirmed newspaper report he will not make the trip to meet the president. So basically it's the white Sox who'll be going.” Other players who boycotted included Mookie Betts, the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, and David Price, whose pitching during the World Series helped Boston to gain victory.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts, Sandy Leon, and Christian Vazquez also declined to attend. The president’s immigration policies and comments about countries in Latin America have unsettled a number of baseball players in a sport.
A great number of players are Latino and most hail from the Dominican Republic or Venezuela. Héctor Velázquez, a Mexican pitcher revealed why he boycotted stating: “I made the choice not to go because, as we know, the president has said a lot of stuff about Mexico.”
J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent, attended the ceremony and handed Trump a Red Sox jersey with his name on the back. Also present was the team’s owner, John Henry.
However, Trump appeared to not be bothered by the absenteeism. On the day he told reporters: “I like the Red Sox,” and added: “We have given Puerto Rico $91 billion for the hurricane.”
Although the actual amount was closer to a little more than $40 billion so far. The president added: “The people of Puerto Rico should really like President Trump.”
Trump continued: “You ever seen such good-looking people behind me?” then announced he was taking the team on a tour of the Lincoln Bedroom.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Cora said noted that the government had done "some things back home that are great," but added that "we still have a long ways to go." He continued: "That's our reality. You know, it's pretty tough, you know, to go celebrate when we're in where we're at."
The manager confessed: "I'd rather not go. And, you know, just be consistent with everything."