Crosby insists 'absolutely no politics involved' in looming White House visit
Sidney Crosby isn't changing his tune on the eve of the Pittsburgh Penguins' visit to the White House.
“From my side of things, there’s absolutely no politics involved,” the Penguins captain told reporters Monday, via the club's official website. “Hopefully, it stays that way. It’s a visit we’ve done in the past. It’s been a good experience. It’s not about politics, that’s for sure.”
Crosby and the two-time defending champions will visit U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday, and the Penguins superstar isn't sure how that will unfold.
"I don't know what to expect, to be honest," he said. "We've gone there before and it's been a good experience, so that's how I'm approaching it."
Crosby added that he wasn't exposed to political statements in sports during his upbringing.
"I can't speak for everyone else," he told reporters. "I just grew up under the assumption that that wasn't something you really brought into sports. ... Everyone's kind of got their own view, but that's kind of how I grew up playing hockey. I wasn't really surrounded by that, or didn't really have any examples to go off from that, so I just, I kind of understood it as, (I) just stayed out of it."
Last month, the Penguins revealed they still planned to visit Trump at the White House despite the NBA's Golden State Warriors' decision to forgo their trip after the president used vulgar language to describe NFL players who peacefully protest racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem.
Since then, several black NHLers have weighed in on the issue and mulled protests of their own. Tampa Bay Lightning forward J.T. Brown became the first player to make a silent statement during "The Star-Spangled Banner" when he raised his fist on Saturday night.
Related - Lightning's Brown: 'I have received death threats' since protest
Crosby followed up the Penguins' announcement of their intent to visit the White House at the time by saying he supported it, which drew criticism that Pittsburgh head coach Mike Sullivan called "unfair".