North Carolina will not celebrate its NCAA men’s basketball national championship at the White House because the team and President Trump’s staff could not find a mutually agreeable date, a team spokesman told Andrew Carter of the News & Observer.
“We couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” spokesman Steve Kirschner told Carter. “We tried about eight or nine dates and between they couldn’t work out that date, we couldn’t work out that date, so — we would have liked to have gone, but not going.”
Kirschner said the invitation had officially been extended to the team from the White House and that the Tar Heels’ players “were fine with going.”
Trump ignited a cross-cultural firestorm with his comments about protesting NFL players Friday night and then added tweets about the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry on Saturday morning. In profane terms, Trump said NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be “fired” and then said Curry would not be welcome at the White House should the Warriors wish to celebrate their NBA title there. On Friday, Curry repeated his stance that he did not wish to visit the White House.
In April, Coach Roy Williams was noncommittal when asked whether the Tar Heels would visit President Trump at the White House after his team beat Gonzaga for the NCAA tournament title.
“We won in ’05; we never got invited,” he said then. “I don’t know if we’re going to get invited this time. That’s a bad way to put it. They invited us in September  when they were doing a lot of teams.
“Well, all my team were already at the NBA training camp and two of them in Europe. So we didn’t go in ’05. And we did go in ’09. But, you know, the office of the presidency of the United States is the most fantastic place you can be. But let me think on it.”
Dawn Staley, coach of the NCAA champion South Carolina women’s basketball team, said she would go to the White House if an invitation was extended, though she would give her players the option of not going.