“With several players either pursuing pro opportunities or moving on from UVA, it would be difficult, if not impossible to get everyone back together. We would have to respectfully decline an invitation,” Bennett said in the statement.
CNN has reached out to the White House for comment on Bennett’s statement.
Trump has hosted victorious men’s athletic teams several times over the course of his presidency. There have been events honoring the Clemson and Alabama men’s football teams, the 2017 Super Bowl champ New England Patriots, the Stanley Cup-winning Washington Capitals hockey team and NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series champion Martin Truex, among others.
Coming to the White House, however, has been a controversial decision for some invited teams during the Trump administration.
When the White House hosted a 2017 event honoring multiple NCAA championship teams from a variety of sports, the South Carolina women’s basketball team declined the invitation.
Last year, Trump canceled a visit from the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles team.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement at the time. “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
The NBA champion Golden State Warriors declined an invitation from the President to visit the White House after winning the 2017 championship.
Individual players also have refused those invitations in the past — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to visit the White House in 2012 over disagreements with President Barack Obama’s policies.
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.
Source : CNN