Athletes Who Refused to Visit the White House

Since 1865, championship-winning teams in sports have been invited to the White House. These visits initially started to celebrate championships in baseball, allowing the winning team the opportunity to meet the president and receive a tour throughout the White House. It didn’t take long for other sports to also be included in this prestigious event. For instance, in 1963, basketball was added, and in 1980 American football was added. Since then, other sports have also been included in this tradition, including soccer and golf. However, not all team members have attended over the years due to several reasons.

Mark Chmura – Bill Clinton

Mark Chmura was a tight end for the Green Bay Packers when the team won the Super Bowl back in 1997. President Clinton invited the entire team to the White House. However, Chmura refused to attend. He informed reporters that he couldn’t make it to the reception due to a scheduled golf game that was made before Clinton’s invitation. Chmura only spoke out about Clinton after the scandal with Monica Lewinsky, stating that he knew all along that Clinton was not a good example for children.

Manny Ramirez – George W. Bush

The Boston Red Sox managed to win the World Series in both 2007 and 2004. On both occasions, George W. Bush invited the team to the White House, who was also considered the best baseball fan in this history of the US presidency. However, Manny Ramirez avoided the White House on both occasions. In 2004, a teammate excused Manny, informing the president that his grandmother was ill. In 2007, the president noticed that the player was absent again and stated that his grandmother must have died twice.

Michael Jordan – George W. Bush

Michael Jordan did not show up when the Chicago Bulls claimed the NBA Finals in 1991. His absence from the White House, while George W. Bush was president, was met with criticism by both the public and press. Some suggested that his lack was an insult to his basketball team and that it fundamentally undermined the team’s accomplishment. However, Jordan stated that he already met the president while he was a vice president and that he wanted to spend more time with his family as he was always too busy due to his hectic schedule. According to Jordan, spending time with family was more important than attending the White House.

Tom Brady – Barack Obama

The New England Patriot’s famous quarterback, Tom Brady, decided not to meet Barack Obama as the president of the United States at the time after the team won the Super Bowl in 2015. His reason not to attend was due to family plans that were made before the president’s invitation. However, several reports have surfaced since then stating that Tom Brady did not participate in due to the Deflategate scandal. This was mostly a controversy where the NFL accused the New England Patriots of not inflating footballs correctly which made them easier to handle and catch.


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