President Donald Trump will welcome the Stanley Cup championship winning Pittsburgh Penguins at the White House on Tuesday afternoon amid his ongoing war with the National Football League and its players who don’t stand for the national anthem.
The meeting comes as Trump continues to spar with NFL players whose protests against racial inequality he has seized upon, and he disinvited the reigning National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors from their White House visit. Keeping with tradition, the Penguins will visit the President — a meeting they have said has nothing to do with politics.
“From my side of things there’s absolutely no politics involved,” Penguins captain Sidney Crosby said Monday, in remarks reported by the Associated Press. “Hopefully it stays that way. It’s a visit we’ve done in the past. It’s been a good experience. It’s not about politics, that’s for sure.”
The Penguins visited the White House after their championship win in 2016 during former President Barack Obama’s second term.
Trump has taken issue with a number of NFL and NBA players in recent weeks. During a rally last month, Trump referred to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, the first to take a knee to protest racial injustice during the national anthem, as a “son of a bitch.” Trump also withdrew the White House invitation for the Warriors, saying that the team’s star player Steph Curry was “hesitating.”
Curry and Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, along with other players, had been critical of the President in the past and it was unclear if they would accept the invitation.
Just on Tuesday morning, Trump threatened to target the NFL’s tax status if players don’t stand for the national anthem.
Trump is expected to greet the Penguins at 3 p.m. E.T. Watch it live above.