November was a very good month for the Chicago Cubs and President Donald Trump.
The Cubs ended an unfathomable 108-year World Series drought in the most unlikeliest of fashions after falling behind 3-1 to the Cleveland Indians. Trump became the 45th president of the United States after stunning the heavily favored Hillary Clinton in the general election.
These come-from-behind shockers took place less than a week apart.
While that doesn’t necessarily connect the two events, it does make them kindred spirits in a way. So it should come as little surprise that a group of Cubs were scheduled to get a private White House tour Wednesday. The Cubs are in D.C. for a four-game series against the Nationals.
Some, such as NBC Sports, are calling this a “political statement,” but as Cubs manager Joe Maddon put it, this is more a sign of respect than anything. And in today’s world, that’s something that is sorely needed.
Compare that respect to the stance of the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors. Between coach Steve Kerr’s sharp criticisms of Trump and Steph Curry’s general reluctance, it seems increasingly unlikely that the Warriors will visit the White House. That, NBC Sports, is a “political statement.”
When asked Tuesday about the Warriors and the stance of some sports teams toward the White House, Maddon gave a poignant response.
“You’d have to talk to the Warriors,” Maddon said. “To go tomorrow is out of respect to the [Cubs owners] Ricketts family and to the office and the building itself. Listen, I like the United States a lot. I like living here a lot. And I like everything that it represents a lot.
“So when you get a chance as a citizen to get to go to the White House, you go. I think you go. Whether you like the person that’s running the country or not — out of respect to the office itself — you go.
“I don’t agree with all the other banter that’s going on right now, because I have a different perspective.”
Regardless of your place on the political spectrum or what you think of Maddon and his Cubs, this is a refreshingly mature take on the intersection between sports and politics. Yes, you can have disagreements, but disrespecting someone gets you nowhere. If anything, disrespect only entrenches the opposition further.
Remember, the Cubs have now observed both sides of the political spectrum. Their World Series championship visit was the final official event of Barack Obama’s White House.
Now a select group is visiting Donald Trump’s White House. Anyone decrying them for picking a side is clearly not paying enough attention.
So kudos to Joel Maddon and the Chicago Cubs. The reigning World Series champions are showing maturity and thoughtfulness, two things that are becoming increasingly harder to find in today’s world.
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