WASHINGTON — The Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals are going to the White House Monday, but not all players will be there.
Goalie Braden Holtby and right winger Brett Connolly "respectfully declined" the offer.
Connolly said he declined out of respect for his friend and former teammate Devante Smith-Pelly.
Smith-Pelly, who is black and Canadian said after the Caps win that he wouldn't go to the White House if invited because "President Trump says things that are racist and sexist."
Holtby told a group of media today that he has to "stay true to my values."
He went on to say "it's a tough situation for everyone to be forced to make a decision of that standing where you're a team and you want to stick together."
Holtby is Canadian, but has been very outspoken over the years in support of the LGBTQ community. He even has been part of the DC Pride Parade.
T.J. Oshie smiled broadly as he talked about going to the White House.
"I think it's really exciting for me as an American," said the Capitals forward. You grow up learning about the White House and history and it just seems like a pretty cool opportunity for me."
Teammate John Carlson, who's also American, will make the trip.
"It's an experience I want to be a part of and see through," said Carlson. Something that you dream about getting honored as a champions and something we worked really hard for."
We asked some fans what they would ask player. Fatou Bah wanted to know if the players were surprised by the hooplah surrounding their decision.
Oshie and Carlson both said no.
Later in his interview, Braden Hotlby said he and his family "believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you're born into. That's just where it's at in terms of this decision. You're asked to choose what side you're on and I think it's pretty clear what side I'm on."
Each player is looking for something different. Oshie hopes the Oval Office is on the official tour.
According to a team official on the condition of anonymity, owner Ted Leonsis will attend the White House visit to support the team.