Report: Majority of Clemson’s black players skipped White House visit

A majority of black players from Clemson University’s football team reportedly skipped the much-publicized visit to the White House for President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE’s fast food feast.

Following Clemson’s victory in the National Championship game over the University of Alabama last month, Trump invited the team to visit the White House, something the sitting president traditionally does for major sports teams that win championships.

The visit picked up extra buzz after Trump announced that he was financing a fast food feast consisting of McDonalds and Wendy’s, among other American fast food staples.

ADVERTISEMENT

While most of the team made the trip and attended, a majority of black players declined the invite, according to an exclusive report published Tuesday by The Root.

The news outlet reports that only 15 black players out of the 57 on the official team roster decided to attend.

Three of the athletes reportedly cited Trump’s “divisive politics” and instances of “racism” as their reasons to not attend.

Of the 15 black players who did go, 11 were reportedly freshmen or sophomores who did not play frequently.

Only six of the black players who attended were on the national championship depth chart, The Root reported.

“Not saying anything against the players who went, but if you look at who went — freshman and people fighting for playing time — you’ll see what I’m talking about,” one unnamed player, who decided not to attend the White House visit, told The Root.

Another player who spoke on the condition of anonymity said there was no pressure from coaches to attend and players individually decided whether to go or not.

“It wasn’t like we had a team meeting or anything,” the player told The Root. “Players were talking amongst each other but everybody was like: ‘I’m not going to that.’ ”

Joe Galbraith, Clemson’s associate vice president for strategic communications, confirmed to The Root in an email that two-thirds of the team made the trip and the student-athletes had a variety of reasons, such as classes, for not attending.

“We had 76 student-athletes (approximately two-thirds of the team) make the trip to D.C.,” Galbraith wrote. “For a variety of reasons, several players were not able to adjust schedules to make the trip.”

Clemson did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.