Washington Capitals player Devante Smith-Pelly said he plans to skip the traditional visit to the White House if his team wins the Stanley Cup due to his opposition to President Trump‘s rhetoric.
“The things that he spews are straight-up racist and sexist,” Smith-Pelly, who is Canadian and one of the two black players on the team, said Wednesday, according to a Canadian newspaper.
“Some of the things he’s said are pretty gross. I’m not too into politics, so I don’t know all his other views, but his rhetoric I definitely don’t agree with. It hasn’t come up here, but I think I already have my mind made up.”
The Capitals hold a 3-1 lead over the Las Vegas Golden Knights in the best-of-seven championship series, and need to win one more game to take home their first Stanley Cup championship. They can do so if they win Game 5 on Thursday night.
Smith-Pelly has had six goals and one assist in the playoffs this season.
The decades-long tradition of championship teams visiting the White House has become controversial under the Trump administration as athletes opt out of visiting the president to protest his rhetoric.
The president disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles earlier this week after reports emerged that only a few players would attend the event.
Trump also rescinded an invitation to the Golden State Warriors last year after star Stephen Curry said he probably would not attend.
“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team,” Trump tweeted. “Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!”