In these tumultuous political times, many famous athletes have begun using their platforms for political messages. Over the past year, those actions have taken the form of declined invitations to the White House. In February of 2017, for example, six members of the New England Patriots turned down the requisite White House visit after their Super Bowl win. Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Chris Long, Dont’a Hightower, La Garrette Blount, and Alan Branch made public statements about their disapproval of Donald Trump with their decisions.
Further, in September of 2017, Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry said he wouldn’t go to the White House after winning the 2017 NBA Championship title. And in November, the University of South Carolina women’s basketball team declined their invitation as well. The latest athlete adding to that legacy is Team USA figure skater Adam Rippon.
Adam Rippon will be competing in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. He is the first openly gay man to compete for the United States at the Winter Olympics. And regardless of his performance on the ice, don’t expect him to visit the White House anytime soon. Not while Trump is there, at least.
Typically, the president hosts members of the U.S. Olympic team after the games. But in a recent interview with the BBC, Rippon declined his potential future White House invitation, saying he would not go meet Trump in Washington, D.C.
Adam Rippon gave a pretty valid reason for his future refusal.
“I won’t go to the White House. And I won’t go because I don’t think somebody like me would be welcome there,” Rippon told the BBC. “I know what it’s like to go into a room and feel like you’re not wanted there.”
Rippon also mentioned that if he said some of things Trump has said, his mom would “kick [his] ass.”
“Athletes are given a really special platform. It’s our duty as athletes to be role models,” he continued. “Given this platform of being an Olympic athlete, I think it’s really important that we stand up for what we believe in, and we speak out against things that we think are wrong and unjust.”
Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn has also refused to visit the White House after the games are over.
“I want to represent our country well,” Vonn said. “I don’t think that there are a lot of people currently in our government that do that.”
No matter how these two finish in the games, it’s inspiring to see Olympic athletes speaking out about the politics that directly affect their country. Go Team USA!