‘This isn’t us taking a stance’: Crosby doubles down on White House decision
Sidney Crosby found himself in hot water this week after he told the media Sunday he would attend the White House on President Donald Trump’s invitation.
And the Penguins captain didn’t back down from his stance following a preseason game Wednesday night.
“This isn't us taking a stance,” Crosby said. “It’s totally with the spirit of keeping politics out of it. It's unfortunate that people want to try to twist it to make it about that, but it's really not, and that's really the truth of it all.”
Crosby has visited the White House with the Penguins before, most recently after last year's Stanley Cup win when President Obama sat in office.
For several fans back home in Cole Harbour, the experience of going to the historic building is what matters, not that Donald Trump sent the invitation.
“You've got a lot of the rookies on the Penguins, and the younger players who maybe only get to do this once, and just because he's the president doesn't necessarily mean they should have to miss out on that,” says Cole Harbour resident Jesse Eddy.
“I know that Trump is in the White House right now, but why give up that opportunity to go?” says Cole Harbour resident Mikayla Thomson. “Are you going to look back and think, ‘I didn’t go to the White House because trump was president?’”
Crosby has faced a lot of backlash with editorials and political cartoons. But hockey fan and former journalist Alex Joseph thinks that's not fair to the Pittsburgh captain.
“Why turn a special day into something and take it away? The Pittsburgh Penguins won the Stanley Cup. They're going to the White House. They're honoured to go to the White House. And for them to not go, I think it shows no respect. Again, politics and sports don't mix,” Joseph says.
Crosby and the Penguins accepted the invitation to the White House on the heels of this weekend’s take a knee protest, where NFL athletes protested racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem. President Trump took issue with the display, prompting more athletes to join in.
Some hockey players, like Joel Ward of the San Jose Sharks, have said they would consider joining the protest in upcoming games.
But Crosby's decision is dividing fans.
“I feel like he should try to stay away from that and just focus on hockey,” says resident Austin Thibault.
“People don't always agree with the presidents or what they're doing, but they can still go. They earned that honour,” says Evan Knole.
The Pittsburgh Penguins head office did not respond to CTV News’s request for comment.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Emily Baron Cadloff.