When the world champion Boston Red Sox visit the White House on Thursday, they will do so without their manager.
Alex Cora, who led the team to the title in his first year at the helm, announced in a written statement provided to the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Dia on Sunday that he will not join the team when it meets with President Trump.
Cora, a native of Puerto Rico, mentioned the federal government’s relief efforts after Hurricane Maria when explaining his decision.
“Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead,” Cora told the paper, according to a translated version of the story. “That is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence [from the White House] is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”
Cora said his decision was a personal one, made after talking to his friends and family, and he thanked the Red Sox organization for respecting his position.
He confirmed his decision after Boston’s 9-2 win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go,” he said, according to the Associated Press. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”
The manager, 43, is not the only member of the team who will not be in attendance Thursday. Red Sox players Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Christian Vazquez and Rafael Devers have said they will not be attending the trip.
Pitcher David Price announced last month that he would not attend, offering only “it’s baseball season” as his reasoning. And relief pitcher Hector Velazquez said he would be absent because he “would rather not offend anyone” in his native Mexico. On Sunday, Xander Bogaerts also said he would not take part in the visit, according to reporters who posted about the decision on Twitter.
“We’ll see what happens,” he told USA Today in January. “If I go, I’ll represent Puerto Rico the right way.”