The politics of sports championship celebrations

Photo via the White House.

Maybe it’s time to stop inviting sports teams to the White House to celebrate their accomplishments. Nobody really cares about the visit, it’s a 10-second story if it does make news, and it’s starting to become a soapbox for some of the players.

Former Minnesota Viking Matt Birk is the latest sports star to turn down a presidential invitation to be with his team.

Birk, a member of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens, declined the invitation because of a disagreement with the Obama administration over the issue of abortion, he told KFAN.

“I wasn’t there,” Birk told The Power Trip. “I would say this, I would say that I have great respect for the office of the Presidency but about five or six weeks ago, our president made a comment in a speech and he said, ‘God bless Planned Parenthood.’”

Birk, who also took a public stance during the recent gay rights movements that swung through our country last year, is a very open and public Catholic and claims that he took offense to these comments that were made by President Obama. So much so, that he declined a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet and be honored by the President at the White House.

“Planned Parenthood performs about 330,000 abortions a year,” Birk explained. “I am Catholic, I am active in the Pro-Life movement and I just felt like I couldn’t deal with that. I couldn’t endorse that in any way.”

Birk’s protest fell on deaf ears outside of his hometown. Even the Baltimore Sun, while reporting that the no shows on the team were Anquan Boldin, Bernard Pollard, Paul Kruger, Cary Williams and Michael Oher, ignored Birk.

Birk follows in the footsteps of Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas, who disagrees with the size of government and rejected the invitation when his team won the Stanley Cup.

Thomas is out of the game now. His old team doesn’t miss him. It’s about to play for the Stanley Cup with a younger, better goalie.

Birk is retired now, too.

  • Josh Ruhnke

    I have strong political views as well, but would never turn down the oppertunity to meet a sitting President, Republican or Democrat.

    • Brian Shipe

      Ditto here. It seems like this doesn’t have any relationship to politics, but more as a nice gesture by the White House to congratulate a team. Can’t anything be that simple any more?

  • KTN

    Birk is a pinhead. Typical myopic view of Planned Parenthood, and now typical grandstanding over some perceived affront to his delicate sensibilities. Go ahead, have strong feeling/beliefs, but snubbing the President is childish.

  • Jim G

    If you can’t be a gracious guest, do the next best thing by staying home and don’t call attention to yourself.