Trump indicated Thursday that a visit could be imminent.
“The Super Bowl champions are coming, I think next week,” the president said (via KMBC). “Soon. Very soon. Every one of them want to be here. And the coach loves us. The coach is great — Andy Reid.
“Every one of them want to be here.”
Reid told reporters Sunday he hadn’t given the matter much thought, but “if they’re inviting us, I’ll be there. It’s quite an honor, I think.”
Such visits have become a lightning rod for championship sports teams in recent years, and the Chiefs were asked their plans immediately after dispatching the San Francisco 49ers for the team’s first NFL championship in 50 years.
“That would be great to go to the White House,” wide receiver Tyreek Hill said, via the Kansas City Star. “I’ve never been to D.C., so that would be great.”
The Super Bowl-winning team has traditionally visited the White House during the NFL’s offseason, although teams in other professional leagues have often timed their visits around in-season road trips to Washington. The Chiefs do play the Ravens in 2020 in Baltimore, which could make an in-season visit feasible. The date of that game won’t be released until the entire NFL schedule comes out in the spring.
“I’m here to represent the Kansas City Chiefs. I think my teammates feel the same way,” safety Tyrann Mathieu said, via the Star. “Any time we get the opportunity to represent Kansas City the right way, represent our teammates the right way, I don’t see any wrong in that.”
Defensive end Frank Clark, like many other athletes, had concerns, though.
“It’s a lot of stuff going on surrounding the White House and stuff like that,” Clark said, via the Star. “I know historically … that’s something you do as a Super Bowl champion. But we’ll see, man. It’s a lot of mixed emotions about stuff going on there. We’ll see.”
Cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who formerly played for the Washington Redskins, told the Star he planned to “cross that bridge when we cross it. We had to get this game down first and now we know [we] got a trip going to the White House.”
The New England Patriots, last year’s Super Bowl winner, cited scheduling conflicts as the reason they couldn’t visit the White House, although owner Robert Kraft, Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have cordial relationships with the president. The Patriots visited in 2017, but about a third of the roster, including Brady, did not make the trip.
In 2018, the Philadelphia Eagles were disinvited by Trump after some players said they would skip the ceremony to protest the president and his rhetoric over player demonstrations during the playing of the national anthem before games. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” Trump said in a statement about the cancellation. Instead, Trump held a “Celebration of America,” complete with a Marine Corps band in dress uniforms and miniature American flags.
LSU’s football team is the most recent athletic outfit to visit the White House, stopping by last month after beating Clemson in the college football national championship game. Trump didn’t hesitate to discuss politics during the visit.
The Virginia men’s basketball team, last year’s national champion, did not go to the White House, with Coach Tony Bennett citing logistics. No NBA champion has visited the White House since the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, when Barack Obama’s second term was winding down. The Warriors, champions in 2017 and 2018, and Trump have long had a contentious relationship, with Trump famously rescinding an invitation after Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and others said they would not accept if offered. The Warriors were stopped in their bid for a third straight championship by the Toronto Raptors last season, with players on the Raptors expressing opposition to the idea.
Several women’s champions have not received invitations. The Minnesota Lynx did not hear from the Trump administration after winning the 2017 WNBA Finals, and the Seattle Storm made it more than clear that they did not want to visit after winning in 2018. The women’s World Cup champions, led by Megan Rapinoe, refused to visit the White House. A private invitation was offered, according to SI.com. Some college athletes planned to confront Trump during a celebration of 22 college championship teams last fall, but the protest mostly fizzled out.
The Washington Nationals visited last fall and were embraced by Trump after winning the World Series, but the city’s Mystics, the WNBA champions, have not done so.