In a scathing attack on President Donald Trump, The Nation's sports editor Dave Zirin defended the decision of Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora to boycott the 2018 World Series champions' visit to the White House Thursday. Zirin also criticized golfer Tiger Woods for visiting Trump today to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Zirin writes, "The malignant neglect that Trump has shown Cora’s Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, as well as Trump’s sociopathic disregard for the island’s dead, has made it impossible for Cora to join the president at the White House."
Cora, native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, (celebrating team's championship, in center of above photo) had a letter published by the Puerto Rican newspaper El Nuevo Día explaining his decision not to join the team for a celebration of last year's championship. Here is a portion of that letter:
"Puerto Rico is very important to me. During the winter I spent a lot of time back home, visiting my family and friends. Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting. Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane María struck … . Even though the United States Government has helped, there’s still a long road ahead and that is OUR reality. I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten and my absence (from the White House) is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House."
Zirin cited a list of Boston players who also won't attend the reception. Puerto Rican catcher Christian Vázquez is also staying away, as are 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, David Price, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley, Jr., Héctor Velázquez and Rafael Devers. Zirin says other members of the team are still contemplating whether or not to attend and eat cold fast food — a dig at President Trump for having served McDonald's and Chick-Fil-A to other sports champions this year.
Cora’s anger at Trump is justified, the leftist Zirin writes. "In addition to his inaction around offering emergency aid after Hurricane Maria, Trump has mocked the elected officials in Puerto Rico and chosen to say that the 3,000 Puerto Ricans who died as a result of the Hurricane simply don’t exist. He calls the number fake news—saying the number is more like six to 18—and won’t acknowledge either the horrific impact of either the hurricane or pay any respects to the dead. Trump was more afraid of Puerto Rico being remembered as 'a real catastrophe like Hurricane Katrina' than he was in actually using his power to save lives." Cora has also been critical of the president's comments about Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane.
Zirin turned his venom on Trump's friend Tiger Woods, who received a White House invite after his stunning victory last month in the Master's. He writes that Cora's stand on political principle is a stark contrast to Woods, who will visit the White House "to kiss Trump’s ring ... .":
"It’s people like Alex Cora who remind us that a president who respects no one unless they pledge sycophantic loyalty is not worthy of respect. Especially when it comes at a cost of your self respect."
Michael Silverman, sports writer for the Boston Herald, writes that Boston's principal owner John Henry CEO Sam Kennedy and chairman Tom Werner all lent support for Cora's decision, but they plan on attending. Which wasn't mentioned in Zirin's screed.
The New York Times' Victor Mather focused on controversies surrounding Trump and championship teams that did not visit the White House. "Visiting the White House for the traditional celebration of championships has been a fraught issue for many teams in Mr. Trump’s years in office.
"The Golden State Warriors of the N.B.A. suggested they were unsure about a White House visit after their last championship, then had their invitation rescinded. Many of the team’s players have been openly critical of the president." The Warriors' team is clearly aligned politically with the left-wing politics of their friend Barack Obama.
Mather also mentioned the 2018 Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles indicated most of their team would boycott Trump, and the 2019 University of Virginia men’s basketball team isn't going, due to scheduling conflicts, "though several players also criticized Mr. Trump."
Yahoo Sports' Ben Weinrib also turned the Red Sox Thursday White House visit into a political attack on the president. "Beyond mere rhetoric, Trump’s administration has slow-walked funding the recovery, especially compared to how quickly aid was administered in Texas for Hurricane Harvey.
"During the government shutdown, Trump mulled taking away disaster-relief funds for Puerto Rico in order to fund his wall on the southern border, despite the island suffering $100 billion in damage. Trump has even lied about how much aid he has sent to Puerto Rico, falsely claiming that he had sent $90 billion when the White House acknowledged that only half that amount had been allocated."