Penguins' Sidney Crosby: 'It's a great honor for us to be invited' to White House
Pittsburgh coach Mike Sullivan says the team also respects players' right to protest
"It's a great honor for us to be invited there," Crosby said, according to Jim Cerny of the Sporting News.
The repeat Conn Smythe Trophy winner's remark mirrors what President Trump posted on Twitter when he rescinded a White House invitation to Stephen Curry and the NBA's Golden State Warriors on Saturday.
"Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team," the president said in one of 17 tweets or retweets he has posted since Friday that pertain to either White House invitations or national anthem demonstrations around sports.
The Penguins said in a statement Sunday, the same day the city's NFL team had all but one player in response to Trump's Friday call for NFL owners to "fire" any player who kneels during the song, that they "respect the institution of the Office of the President and the long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House."
It's a sentiment shared by Penguins coach Mike Sullivan as well, according to Cerny.
"As an organization, we decided that we were going to accept the invitation," Sullivan said, per Cerny. "It's politics aside. Having said that, we also respect the fact that someone has a right to protest. We totally respect that as well. That's how our organization looks at it, and that's how we all feel."
This comes days after others around the NHL chimed in on Trump's sports commentary. Winnipeg Jets veteran Blake Wheeler that the president was attacking "the principles the U.S. was founded on" with his comments about NFL protests, and J.T. Brown of the Tampa Bay Lightning echoed opposition to Trump from various NFL players.
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