Washington Mystics players speak out about President Trump, politics in Washington Post story

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Elena Delle Donne
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 28: Elena Delle Donne /

Politics is a tricky subject to navigate, particularly for professional athletes subject to media scrutiny, fan criticism, and the expectations of their own team.

The Washington Mystics don’t seem to care.

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In an eye-opening piece in the Washington Post on Sunday, players and coaches spoke out about current events and whether they would visit the White House if invited.

For the Mystics, it starts with the coach. The story says Mike Thibault welcomes political discussion around his team, no matter the views, and encourages his players to support causes that are important to them.

"“I’m not trying to be dramatic about it; I just think it’s important that you stand up for what you think’s right,” Thibault said. “I don’t know if it’s the teacher part of me or the activist part of me, I don’t know what it is. I just feel like I want them to stand for something, whatever it is.”"

Part of that could mean making a difficult decision if the Mystics win the WNBA Championship (a big “if.” The Mystics are on track for a playoff spot, but would have to get past several teams in seemingly better shape.). Major sports champions are traditionally invited to the White House to meet the president, but many of President Trump’s actions and policies have rubbed Mystics players the wrong way, to the point where they might not want to attend.

In the story, Elena Delle Donne called Trump’s statement last week on banning transgender individuals from serving in the military “idiotic” and “very frightening.”

Natasha Cloud said she does not support any of Trump’s views on politics or human rights issues, and added that if the Mystics were to win the WNBA title, “we [presumably the Mystics] would not go to the White House.

Delle Donne agreed:

"“I wouldn’t go,” Delle Donne said. “I’m pretty sure the whole team just isn’t in support of a lot of the values that the president right now seems to be standing for. So yeah, I don’t think many of us would make that trip.”"

The Mystics are hardly an outlier, either. Earlier this month, the Seattle Storm held a Stand With Planned Parenthood night, which included a pregame rally. They also gave proceeds from ticket sales going to the non-profit. WNBA president Lisa Borders also weighed in on the hotly contested Georgia special House election, supporting Democrat Jon Ossoff, who ultimately lost to Republican Karen Handel.

It will be interesting to see if other WNBA contenders weigh in on a potential White House invitation in the offseason. After all, one team will ultimately have a decision to make.