Column: Let’s not worry about White House visits for a bit…

Photo Credit: KARE 11

Ahh…the good old days of when sports teams won championships at the conclusion of their respective seasons and it would culminate with a stop by the White House to be recognized for their athletic accomplishments by the president of the United States.

Ahh…the good old days when the president of the United States actually acted like the president of the United States.

(Video Credit: Obama White House)

Much attention is being placed on the concept of these presidential visits with the Philadelphia Eagles, who won this year’s Super Bowl, being disinvited from the White House as a result of several Eagles players saying they wanted nothing to do with it.

It is not the first time recently that a sports team has looked at the situation at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and has said they wanted nothing to do with it. Look at last year’s Golden State Warriors.

This hand-wringing over White House stops has even found its way into the women’s basketball/WNBA realm too.

Last year, when the South Carolina Gamecocks were crowned national champions, they received no invite to 1600 Pennsylvania.

Also earning a White House snub – the Minnesota Lynx who won last season’s WNBA Finals after a thrilling series with the Los Angeles Sparks. They did not have any problem with being snubbed when President Obama was in office. The Lynx made it to that office on three occasions following their three previous championships which occurred during the 2011, 2013, and 2015 seasons.

Do not expect Arike Ogunbowale and her Notre Dame Fighting Irish to be honored either by this administration. It is the sad reality that the nation’s highest office deliberately elects to gloss over the athletic achievements of women, but it is what it is.

And that is why we need to stop worrying about being honored by this administration because it is simply not going to happen.

Wishing, hoping, yearning, praying for this administration to show appreciation for the athletic achievements of an individual woman such as Serena Williams or Aly Raisman or of an entire team such as the Irish, Gamecocks, or Lynx is like trying to arrive at the end of pi.

It is simply not going to happen. In fact, knowing who is in charge of this administration, he is probably more dismayed at the fact that Miss America will no longer have evening gown and swimsuit competitions.

While the intentions of LeBron James…

…and Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve…

…are without question admirable, these efforts will be without question fruitless, unfortunately.

Every time the athletic achievements of a woman or women continue to be less respected than that of their male counterparts, it reminds one of this Associated Press article written about what happened in the latter years of the Reagan Administration.

Terrell Bell, President Reagan’s first education secretary, wrote in a memoir about the administration that White House officials often uttered sexist and misogynistic quips about women – including referring to Title IX as the “Lesbians’ Bill of Rights.”

Who knows what types of sexist and misogynistic remarks are coming from the lips of individuals inside this White House. That alone should make anyone who is an aficionado of women’s sports tremble and is why one should not worry too much about being honored with a visit at our nation’s highest office until He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is no longer in that office.

If one were to poll athletes of the WNBA, NBA, and NFL – three sports leagues that are majority minority – about their feelings on visiting this White House, it will get overwhelmingly negative reviews as evidenced by what the Eagles did. To quote the famous Thurl Ravenscroft track about the Grinch, they would not touch this White House with a….39 ½ foot pole.

Instead, the Lynx who are in Washington, D.C. for their matchup against the Mystics, will celebrate their championship with community service. Given that the previous president began his career as a community service organizer, the Obamas would for sure smile at this news.

They will host a Samaritan’s Feet Shoes of Hope Distribution at Payne Elementary School in the District. Several notable shoe brands will donate socks and sneakers to children.

That is how to compensate for being locked out of this White House. While disappointing it is, it is no different from what women have had to do for virtually their entire existence – find a way to make stuff happen when insecure men throw obstacles in their way.

The event the Lynx will be part of in Washington, D.C. is a noteworthy community service initiative. As for the White House, we will worry about that in a couple of years. Then if things go as planned, perhaps future NCAA women’s college champions and WNBA champions can feel prideful about once again paying a visit to 1600 Penn.

By: Akiem Bailum (@AkiemBailum on Twitter, Instagram)

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