Sean Doolittle will not attend Nationals’ celebration at White House in protest
Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle announced on Friday that he will not attend the team’s celebration at the White House Monday for winning the World Series, and he says it is due to issues he has with Donald Trump.
Doolittle, 33, had two saves and three holds in nine appearances for the Nationals this postseason. He is known for his liberal beliefs and says that plays a role in his decision. However, he told The Washington Post that Trump’s “divisive rhetoric” and “widening the divide” in the country is the bigger reason for his decision.
“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country. My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘s—hole countries,’ ” Doolittle said (profanity edited by LBS). His s—hole countries was a reference to past comments by Trump.
Doolittle says he wants to be there with his teammates but “just can’t do it.”
Doolittle also knows he has and will be told to respect the office of the president. His response is that Trump’s actions while in office have shown a lack of respect for the position.
“People say you should go because it’s about respecting the office of the president,” Doolittle said. “And I think over the course of his time in office he’s done a lot of things that maybe don’t respect the office.”
“The rhetoric, time and time again, has enabled those kind of behaviors,” Doolittle said, referring to racism and white supremacy. “That never really went away, but it feels like now people with those beliefs, they maybe feel a little bit more empowered. They feel like they have a path, maybe. I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”
Doolittle has been outspoken many times in the past. In 2017, he spoke out against the rally in Charlottesville. He’s spoken out about the wages for minor league players. And more recently, he defended teammate Daniel Hudson’s decision to miss a playoff game to be with his wife for the birth of their child.
Those who support Doolittle will likely back his decision and view him as praiseworthy for taking a stand. Those who do not may call him out for a lack of respect for the president (as noted by Doolittle), for not showing up to be there for his teammates, and for possibly contributing to the divide in the country he cited.