More than half of voters say championship teams shouldn't be required to visit White House

More than half of voters say sports teams shouldn’t be required to visit the White House following a championship win, according to a new Hill-HarrisX survey released on Friday.

The survey showed that 58 percent of voters said that players should be able to make up their own minds about whether or not to attend White House celebrations, compared to 42 percent who think attendance should be compulsory.  

Opposition to mandatory attendance was highest among Democratic voters, with 71 percent saying that players should decide for themselves when their team is invited to the White House. Sixty-six percent of independents and 34 of Republicans agreed.

Some championship teams have chosen to attend White House celebrations in recent years, while others have not. 

Most recently, the Nationals faced some backlash for their visit to the White House earlier this month. 

Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo defended his team’s visit to the White House last week following its first World Series win in franchise history. Catcher Kurt Suzuki in particular was criticized for wearing a “Make American Great Again” hat at the White House ceremony.

Rizzo told USA Today this week that the team wasn’t “trying to make a political statement,” but rather following in the “tradition” of visiting the White House.

Rizzo also maintained that players had a choice about whether to go. Multiple players from the team's roster, including pitcher Sean Doolittle, chose not to attend.

Other teams and players have also declined to visit the White House after championship runs — or faced controversy for doing so.

The Golden State Warriors did not attend Trump-hosted ceremonies following their NBA titles in 2017 or 2018.

Trump also withdrew an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles following the NFL team's Super Bowl victory last June due to a dispute over players' stances on national anthem protests. 

The Hill-HarrisX survey was conducted online among 1,204 registered voters between Nov. 8 and Nov. 9. The sampling margin of error of this poll is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

—Tess Bonn