There is a long tradition in the United States for collegiate tournament champions to visit the White House, a practice observed by the LSU women’s basketball team and UConn men’s team when they were invited to meet President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden just met yesterday. However, the Georgia Bulldogs, recently emerged as the winner in the national championship against TCU, have decided to break this habit.
The bulldogs have decided not to visit the White House this year, despite receiving an invitation on May 3 for the soccer team to attend on June 12.
The University of Georgia cited scheduling conflicts with the student-athlete calendar and season as the reason for its decision. Nonetheless, they expressed their gratitude for the invitation and demonstrated their openness to explore future opportunities for their teams.
How did fans react to the Georgia Bulldogs’ decision?
This decision drew criticism from some fans, with one expressing confusion over the link between sport and politics and arguing for their split.
“I never understood the whole trip to the White House. Keep sport & politics separate!”
I never understood the whole trip to the White House. Keep sport & politics separate!
— Jetty_HNDRX (@Jetty_HNDRX) May 9, 2023
Another fan regretted the politicization of this decision.
“The people who are making this decision politically are just sad.”
People who make this decision politically are just sad.
— GusBus (@gusthesportsfan) May 9, 2023
A third argued that the team’s decision not to go represented opposition to President Biden’s administration.
“By leaving, they would condone Biden’s presidency. Someone/something has to start taking action against this stuff.”
In doing so, they would tolerate Biden’s presidency. Someone/something has to start taking action against this stuff
— svp2010 (@svp2010) May 10, 2023
Given the ongoing interdependence of sport and politics, it is important to consider the implications of these interactions. While some argue that athletes and teams have a responsibility to use their platform to speak out on social and political issues, others contend that sport should remain an area of neutrality and entertainment.
Whatever the perspective, the Georgia Bulldogs’ decision to decline a visit to the White House underscores the complexities of this debate and the challenges involved in navigating the intersection of sports and politics.