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Athletes split on newly elected president

President Barack Obama holds a personalized team jersey presented to him by Los Angeles Lakers guards Kobe Bryant, center, and Derek Fisher, left, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House honoring the 2009 NBA basketball champions, Jan. 25, 2010. (Source: Lawrence Jackson / Wikimedia Commons)

With a new president in the Oval Office, professional athletes and teams will continue to visit the White House despite rumors of protests.

While these events are ceremonious and have significant press attention, there is also the fact that these athletes are all individuals with their own political beliefs.

All throughout the campaign season, there were athletes and coaches speaking out in favor of both candidates.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was one of the biggest supporters in the world of sports for Hillary Clinton, while in the days leading up to the election, now-President Trump touted the endorsements of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and their head coach, Bill Belichick.

Sporting News and other publications spoke to Spencer Hawes because of his connection to politics. Hawes is an historically average NBA center who became the focus of these stories for being one of the most well-known and vocal Republicans in the NBA.

Hawes is one of many athletes across a wide variety of sports who was vocal about his conservative beliefs.

It has been shown in the months since the election and in years prior that baseball players tend to lean conservative, basketball players lean liberal and football players are split right near the middle.

Then there is the reality of teams visiting the White House and for players to make their voices heard.

During President Obama’s two terms in office, there were several athletes who did not appear at the White House for political and other reasons, according to the New York Daily News.

The most well-known was Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas, a proud Tea Party member, who opted not to attend the celebration after they won the Stanley Cup in 2011.

There was also Matt Birk, center for the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens in 2013, who chose to snub the president over his support of Planned Parenthood.

Brady was another football player who declined to make the trip for a “family commitment,” which was widely accepted at the time. However, with his recent support of President Trump, it seems the decision may have been politically motivated.

Should the Cavaliers or Golden State Warriors win the championship this season, there is a chance that James or his star counterpart, Stephen Curry, could sit out the meeting with the new president.

This thought has been moved to the forefront with President Obama meeting with the Chicago Cubs championship team only four days before his time in office ends.

The team does have special significance as the President is from Chicago, but this makes it likely that the first team to visit President Trump will be whichever team wins the Super Bowl in February.

The odds makers currently have the Patriots as the favorites to win the championship. If that were to happen, the first team to visit the new President would feature two of his most vocal supporters in the world of athletics.

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