Is there any excuse to miss a White House event with your teammates?

Pollard Podium

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?

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About Kris Jones

Kris Jones
Kris - or "Goob" as he's widely known - has turned an obsession into a career. As a media member by day and super fan by night, he reports from the Under Armour Performance Center twice per week and brings Ravens news from a fan's perspective. His popular YouTube series...more

40 Raves on “Is there any excuse to miss a White House event with your teammates?

  1. Frank on said:

    Remember that meeting President Obama isn’t necessarily on the top of everyone’s list. I don’t want to start a political argument on a sports blog, but personal politics of the players could also play a role in their decision to attend.

    • paulie on said:

      You are right in one aspect of this ‘discussion’ Frank. Sports should not be about politics. All I can say is that if your personal politics is more important than the honor of being invited to the White House, your commitment to your team mates or your sense of accomplishment winning a Super Bowl – then I guess that you are so small and petty an individual that I am greatly relieved that you have been cut, traded or retired. You really do not fit the team concept of the Ravens.

    • RJ on said:

      This is actually a relevant discussion to have, since some players in the league are so politically and emotionally active and attached to a particular party or ideology that the more politically active you are and side with one party, it makes the prospect of having to shake hands and intereact with the leader of the “opposition” that much more concernable.

      That being said, I can’t think of any LEGITAMATE reason for a conservative to hate or dispise Obama enough to not attend the White House, yet I literally thought about my own personal and objectively justifiable hatred of the war criminal George W. Bush that I have no idea if I could be anywhere near the man, let alone shake his hand! To clarify and qualify this statement, I WOULD ahve gone to the WH and shaken Bush’s hand in the first year of his presidency before he ignored the CIA 9-11 warning and forced/lied us into two unfunded wars of choice even though I loathed the creep even before then, but it wasn’t until he committed high treason that I would have refused to be in the same room with the monster.

      • Schroeder on said:

        And on that note, I also don’t think I’d be able to be in the same zip code as a commy who wants to drive my livelihood, and country into the groud as well as build up a debt that my grandkids will be paying… and I’m 18

      • DA on said:

        The second paragraph is nothing but amusingly clueless liberal drivel. Could have left that out rather than embarrassing yourself. ;)

  2. Kevin Allen on said:

    1. honesty, fairness, or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions: a man of honor.

    verb (used with object)
    13. to hold in honor or high respect; revere:

    Integrity, Hold in High Honor or RESPECT……Really? THAT GUY has none.
    But for you to say or tell me or anyone (PLAYERS) meeting the President of the United States is something that should not be taken for granted, regardless of political party affiliation. Is pure BS. We all can think for ourselves…..You or the Gov’t doesn’t think for us. It’s called FREEDOM. If I’d had been part of that team…I would have not gone…PERIOD! I don’t need to have someone tell me what we as a team accomplished was Great. In that Lockeroom after the Super Bowl and every time we’d get together as a team from that time forward….is all the adulation I’d need, knowing that I had a part, a spoke in the wheel to achieving greatness. But to go to the White House and listen to someone I have NO RESPECT for at all. It’s not happening. Besides I’ve been there and done that 8x. With Men who acted like a President…..they led not blame.

    • karl on said:

      Agree with most of your argument.

      In response to the article that said Obama is the highest authority, let me introduce you God the Father, Yeshua, the Holy Spirit.

      • RJ on said:

        What if you don’t believe in God? What if you are an athetist? I actaully beleive in a “higher power”, yet I have zero proof of its existence, and anyone who claims that they actually do have proof that god “exists” is the most dangerous person you could ever meet.

        • karl on said:

          I do believe in God because He Is. God’s existence is predicated on majority opinion especially from satan’s helpers (gays and atheists). He Is because He Is. The various tragedies happening in this country are due to the U.S. rejection of God.

          • paulie on said:

            Karl, this is not the place to tout your religious myopia. Suggest you read Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rev. J. Bennett Guess, among others who can explain to you where you missed the message of Christ.

    • paulie on said:

      You are right Kevin in that you do have the ‘freedom’ not to go. But understand that in making that decision you have said nothing about whomever it is that presently occupies the office and spoken volumes about yourself. You disrespect the Office of President of the United States, the White House as an American symbol, the NFL, the Ravens Organization, all your team mates and the very accomplishment of Super Bowl Champions itself. And I have every right to think so much less of you for that.

    • Tucker: M&T Sec 527 on said:

      He was on the record as anti-gay marriage in his former home of Minnesota. He probably leans to the right on other issues, as well. Whatev’… but dissing the Ravens’ aspect of the event because it involves a legally elected (TWICE!) POTUS who you don’t personally care for tells me he forgets that his Ring is due to being signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Ravens!! Methinks the Vikings are still waiting on their first Super Bowl Ring of the new century.

      • yaliveand learn on said:

        An article said that he didn’t attend because the President has said God Bless Planned Parenthood in a speech a few weeks ago. Birk being Catholic could not bring himself to attend due to not agreeing with the blessing of an agency that condones and performs abortions. The article was on the Ravens mobile app yesterday

  3. karl on said:

    I don’t agree with Obama at all nor his liberal agenda. I don’t share his views on gay marriage (which is an abomination) and abortion which is murder.

    But that wouldn’t keep me from attending the white house. Pride goeth before destruction.

  4. darren on said:

    maybe he felt like he got snubbed by the ravens…..maybe he did….he can do what he wants….as far as the white house goes…..who cares?? who the hell are they anyway? politicians are paid liars,,,,they can all kiss my ass!!!

  5. BMann on said:

    It’s not just meeting the President: It’s getting a private tour of the People’s House! I’m a lifelong Dem, who disliked the policies of George W. Bush probably as much or more than conservatives dislike Obama’s. But if President Bush had invited me to the WH for something akin to a championship celebration with my brothers, complete with WH tour, I’d have been there with bells on. Respect the Office, if not its current occupant.

    We’re all AMERICANS, and getting to spend some time with our elected leader (in the White House!) would be an honor, regardless of who is presently holding the position. That would be my thinking, anyway. And seeing the pics of our Ravens happily frolicking in the various rooms of the WH, they seemed to feel the same way – surely these very rich guys aren’t all Dems! ;)

    • Boldin Raver on said:

      Not a fan of Obama’s but agree with you completely. It’s the office, and that office is honoring a sports accomplishment that is so meaningful to millions of Americans it has political significance. I think player who don’t go are missing the bigger picture. Putting themselves aside, at least a little, is something that football players must do to succeed on almost every down. Why not here? I see players like Krugs saying that they have to show their commitment to their current team. But I bet he’ll wear that ring, right?

    • Mill on said:

      I don’t know Harbs political opinions but from what I do know about him, he doesn’t strike me as the type of person that would agree with the president politically. But look at how giddy he was to be there. Look at his reaction right after the Superbowl when Obama called him and Ozzie on the phone. Harbs would have had the exact same attitude if it was Romney or McCain inviting him in. I believe that is how any true American should approach being invited to the WH. It is the essence of what makes this country great, that we can have these different opinions and not be persecuted for them.

      I am not an Obama fan, as a political leader but he seems like a cool guy that I wouldn’t mind having a beer and talking sports with.

  6. Matt on said:

    I find it either extremely ironic or extremely ill informed that you forgot to mention the owner of the team did not attend. Lets hear you talk about him the same way you talk about pollard. Kinda funny how people say its classless for him not to be there and he’s an asshole for sticking to his guns about not wanting to be around harbs but you don’t seem to care that the most important person in that organization stuck to his guns (I’m assuming here) and didn’t visit bc he doesn’t agree w Obama politics….

  7. jake on said:

    This guy Obama is worse and more corrupt then Nixon. Just look at all the scandals that just broke. If I was a Raven, and didn’t agree with this bozzo, I wouldn’t share any type of stage with him ether. Maybe Steve doesn’t want Obama to sick the IRS on him, so He stayed home.

    • Anonymous on said:

      this is sports … not politics! This president isn’t the only one to have had issues with his administration during his term as president, however ,for people like you this presidents issues are magnified. why? lets just stick together in celebrating the ravens’ accomplishment as a team of fans, like we should be sticking together as a team of Americans.

  8. Bob on said:

    Its about having respect for the office of the President of the USA, not the man himself! It is a great institution and a great country, regardless of the individual. They all should have attended in my view, but its a free country thank God, so its a personal choice nonetheless

  9. HollywoodHeiz on said:

    The 27th Super Bowl Champion to visit the White House. Wow what a honor. Almost as much as hosting opening night of the NFL season in front of a national audience. I guess some traditions are made to be broken. We acknowledge it, agree or disagree, then move on.

  10. Your English Teacher on said:

    Ugh. I have a general rule in life that one should never read the comments below any article on the internet. Until now, RSR was an exception to that rule. No more.

  11. mike on said:

    No, your wrong . This country is no more then a up tempo banana republic thanks to Obama and the idiots who put him in. If can come back. but for now its a sleep at the wheel.

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