On Wednesday, the 2012 Baltimore Ravens became the 27th team to participate in the tradition of visiting the White House and meeting the President of the United States after winning the Super Bowl.
Entering inside the White House gates is an honor itself, but meeting the President of the United States is something that should not be taken for granted, regardless of political party affiliation.
If the Commander in Chief invites you into his home, you go. No ifs, ands or buts about it. However, former Ravens, including wide receiver Anquan Boldin, safety Bernard Pollard, cornerback Cary Williams, linebacker Paul Kruger and center Matt Birk did not attend Wednesday.
Being a Super Bowl champion is a bond that these players will forever share amongst each other. The White House tradition and the ring ceremony are two events that you simply do not miss. This isn’t just an individual event like a high school or college graduation – this is a team event, as champions. From Day 1, head coach John Harbaugh has always preached, “The Team, The Team, The Team” to each one of them.
So why miss out?
In cases of Boldin, Williams and Kruger, they all had mandatory OTA practices with their new teams. While Williams (Philadelphia) and Kruger (Cleveland) are just short flights away, Boldin (San Francisco) would have had to travel across the country. If it were just for the White House event, that’s understandable, but the ring ceremony will take place on Friday evening.
Those occasions combined are well worth a nationwide trip – one that the coaches would likely allow (especially considering who his head coach is) even though you’d be missing “mandatory” practices. Every one of those players on other teams have probably been told that their championship leads to them having greater experience that they can pass down to younger players.
Then there comes the case of Pollard.
Pollard joined 105.7 The Fan on May 15th and stated that he, “just didn’t want to be in the room with certain people.” Even though Pollard’s disagreements with the Ravens front office are no secret, Pollard should be man enough to face them and at least ignore them and speak to the 53 other people in the room: the brotherhood, the team, that he rallied around and won a championship with.
I don’t want to be one to beat up on Pollard because I really liked him as a player. Sure, his hard hits were risky and detrimental to the team and his bank account at times, but it was one of those hits that propelled the Ravens to the Super Bowl in the first place. When Pollard collided with Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in the AFC Championship Game, knocking him unconscious and forcing a fumble as Ridley’s wet noodle of a body hit the ground, that was a major turning point in the game.
To each their own in their personal decisions in life, but I’m just a little baffled as to why you wouldn’t want to attend an event like this. It’s not like championships are guaranteed – how many of those who didn’t attend will get another such chance?