Nestled in the story of Clemson's Championship Tigers football team visiting the White House and being served cold fast food on silver platters, was the quieter story of the players who did not attend. No, the story is not that they missed out on HAMBERDERS and cold pizza.
Credit goes to The Root for their exclusive report about the fact that, indeed, a majority of Black players on the team declined the invitation to visit the White House and meet with President Prince-of-Elegance-and-Wit. Their reason? His racism and their revulsion at his politics. To be clear, the group of players who declined the invitation were both Black AND white. But there are at least 57 Black student-athletes on the roster, and only 15 of them attended the White House "dinner," most of them freshmen. So 74% stayed back.
Thankfully, no one seemed to feel pressure to attend, nor to stay quiet about their reasons. According to Michael Hariot's article,
To Clemson’s credit, all three students individually confirmed that Clemson’s coaches, staff or administration did not pressure them to attend the McNugget buffet nor did any official tell them to keep quiet about their reasons for not going. The players also noted that they harbored no ill feelings towards the players who chose to make the trek to McDonaldland.
“This team is a family,” said the freshman baller. “You don’t always agree with your family on everything but still ... that’s my brother, no matter what.”
When asked if they regretted their decision to stay in South Carolina once they saw the piles of cold McMeat their teammates got to enjoy, all three laughed.
“Now if it was some Five Guys, I might feel different,” responded one.