“I don’t feel comfortable going to a celebration where we’re living what we’re living back home.”
Bravo to Alex Cora.
And not just for Cora, the Boston Red Sox manager, declining to meet President Trump at the White House in Washington, D.C. on Thursday to celebrate his team’s World Series championship last season.
It’s even bigger than that.
Others have said no to Trump – including the entire Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia Eagles squads after they won titles – but seldom were most honest on the reason why. They would either not give a reason or pretend there was a scheduling conflict.
But not Cora.
Cora, who was born in Puerto Rico, has been critical of the president’s handling of disaster relief after Hurricane Maria. That storm tore apart the island in 2017, leaving many people in peril.
Trump has claimed to have done a lot. News organizations and fact checkers have said it just isn’t true.
Hence, Cora made his decision easily and it was made “with a lot of conviction. …I don’t feel comfortable going to a celebration where we’re living what we’re living back home.”
Cora is spot on.
Cora isn’t the only one not attending. Most of the black and Hispanic players aren’t going, including Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Sandy Leon, Eduardo Nunez, David Price, Christian Vazquez and Hector Velazquez.
Those who are planning to attend are white, except J.D. Martinez, who is of Cuban descent.
The Athletic’s Steve Buckley was clever in noting the racial divide in the Red Sox’s clubhouse when he tweeted this: “Alex Cora has confirmed newspaper report he will not make the trip to meet the president. So basically it’s the white Sox who’ll be going.”
Despite how it looks, Cora said there wasn’t a racial divide on his team. “There’s been a lot of talk about what’s going on (about White House visit) and the clubhouse and we’re divided with race and politics,” Cora told the media. “Those kids went out there and played their hearts out. We know who we are in the clubhouse. I know a lot of people doubt that, but we did what we did last year and canceled the noise. We showed up every day, and played.”
It’s interesting – or should we say, fitting – that Boston would be involved in this racial situation and have it come down strictly on race and not beliefs.
Even in the NFL, where teams and players decided not to embrace the Trump White House, some white players have been no-shows, including Tom Brady and Chris Long just to name a few.
That’s why the fact that all the white players on the Red Sox are going to the White House makes you question if indeed there is a divide. It could have been a case of supporting your teammates convictions. Apparently, not.
Boston, the city, has had a long history of racial issues and not just in the past. Last season at Fenway Park, O’s outfielder Adam Jones was called the N-word a number of times.
In 2012, a Boston Bruins fan went off on Washington Capitals winger Joel Ward, who is black, with racists epithets on Twitter after he scored a game-winning goal in the playoffs against the Bruins.
For sure, it was great to hear Red Sox legend David Ortiz support Cora and speak about why he would have made the same decision.
Remember Big Papi is a beloved figure on that city. And not just for winning those three World Series with the BoSox.
Ortiz lifted the city before a crowd at Fenway shortly after the Boston Marathon bombing. “This is our f—— city and nobody is going to dictate our freedom. Stay strong.”
In the case of Trump, Ortiz – who was born in the Dominican Republic – didn’t play politics. He was just plain honest. “I’m an immigrant,” Ortiz told WEEI radio. “When it comes down to the political side of it, I don’t know much about politics and things like that, but when it comes down (to) the way immigrants have been treated, it’s something that goes a long way.
“You don’t want to go shake hands with a guy who is treating immigrants like (expletive) because I’m an immigrant.”
Ortiz, who became a U.S. citizen in 2008, is a genuine guy, just like Cora.Those white Red Sox should have considered these men and their stances before simply doing what has always been easiest – turning your head and following the crowd.