Add the 2017 NCAA basketball champion North Carolina Tar Heels to the list of teams that will not be heading to the Trump White House.
A story in the Charlotte Observer newspaper today said that although the team was invited and willing to go, it “couldn’t find a date that worked for both parties,” according to Steve Kirschner, the team spokesman. “We tried about eight or nine dates and we couldn’t work out that date, so – we would have liked to have gone, but not going.” Kirschner added that the players “were fine with going.”
The story arrived as President Donald Trump is immersed in a Twitter war with the NFL, NBA champion Golden State Warriors, and many prominent athletes over visiting the White House, standing for the National Anthem, and other issues. The timing of the Observer story came after a columnist asked the university about the delayed visit.
The Tar Heels won the title in April, and were later invited to the White House, as is customary for college teams that win national college championships in major sports. Whether the team would visit the White House was first raised during last spring’s Final Four tournament.
Team coach Roy Williams equivocated at that time, claiming he didn’t know if the team would be invited, and cited his championship squad of 2005, which he said wasn’t invited until the following September and couldn’t make it. Williams’s other championship team did visit the White House in 2009.
Williams has previously stated some eyebrow-raising comments about President Trump’s Twitter habits. During the ACC basketball tournament in March of this year he said, “Now everybody’s has got social media, and we don’t need The New York Times to find out what in the dickens is going on in the country. You know, our President tweets out more bulls**t than anybody I’ve ever seen.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.