Sidney Crosby disappoints by going to the White House

Sidney Crosby disappoints by going to the White House

The tension between professional athletes and President Donald Trump has been a hot topic these past few weeks, and it looks like the NHL will have its part in it, too. After winning the Stanley Cup for the second time in a row, the Pittsburgh Penguins will once again visit the White House to be congratulated by the president himself, a tradition they began when visiting President George H.W. Bush in office after winning in 1991 (becoming the first NHL team to visit the White House).

Sidney Crosby has managed to keep his reputation purely on the ice as possibly the best player to lace up over the last 10 years. There’s no denying his skill; his plethora of trophies and Stanley Cup rings will attest to it. But he’s about to face his toughest challenge yet, and there seems to be no way around it. He has already confirmed his attendance to meeting the president, calling it “a great honor for us to be invited there,” and by doing so, has taken a stance that has disappointed both fans of him and the game of hockey.

The truth is, whether he accepts the invite with open arms or gracefully bows out (Tom Brady couldn’t meet Obama due to a “family commitment”), he will offend one side or the other. It can’t be helped. Former Halifax native and poet laureate El Jones called Crosby and the Penguins’ decision “an act of moral cowardice,” and hopes that he sees “how greatly disappointing this is to Canadians and particularly to Black Canadians.”

The difficult aspect to understand about this is perhaps how awkward it is for the NHL to be caught up in all of this. The national anthem protests by NFL players were focused on the racial injustice against African Americans by the authorities, and with the NHL being predominately made up of white players, it hasn’t really had to play a part in all of this up until now. It’s hard to tell if Sid the Kid and the Penguins understand the gravity of their choice, and how it reflects not only on them, but on hockey as a sport in general. Crosby is still the biggest superstar in the sport today, and should he make a point to change his mind and not attend the White House meeting, its effect would ripple across the league.

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