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    For victorious sports teams these days Tyler Toffoli Jersey , the confetti and champagne are apt to be accompanied by a politically fraught question: Are you going to the White House?

    What used to be one of the most innocuous photo-ops in sports is anything but. Going – or not going – has become a political statement in the era of President Donald Trump, who has managed to draw athletes into his game, whether they want to play or not.

    ”If you do go, you’re associating yourself with his policies,” said Howard Bryant, author of ”The Heritage: Black Athletes, A Divided America and the Politics of Patriotism.” ”If you don’t go, you run the risk of branding yourself as not having enough respect for the office.”

    This week, Trump canceled a White House celebration for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles after it became clear very few players planned to attend.

    Trump instead went to his go-to play: attacking as un-American the NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest police killings of black men. (In truth, none of the Eagles took a knee this past season.)

    In the NBA, both the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors have already rejected a White House celebration, however their championship matchup turns out.

    And the Villanova Wildcats – this year’s NCAA men’s basketball champions, who also won in 2016 and celebrated with President Barack Obama – will have to decide Joonas Donskoi Jersey , if an invitation comes, whether to return to Washington for a ceremony with Trump.

    ”Sports are not a distraction from politics – they are politics by a different means,” said University of Southern California sociologist Ben Carrington. ”Because Trump’s administration is so highly charged, it’s understandable that many players would refuse to attend. It’s happened before, but never on this scale.”

    Before Trump took office, one of the biggest fusses to emerge from a White House victory celebration was the great flip-flop incident of 2005, when the Northwestern University women’s lacrosse championship team wore the sandals to meet President George W. Bush.

    In snubbing the Eagles, Trump praised other championship teams that have attended White House celebrations during his administration, among them the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Houston Astros.

    Athletes are now being put in the position of taking a patriotic litmus test during their shining moment of victory, said Cornell University professor Grant Farred.

    ”It’s incredibly difficult for these athletes, and not a choice they have imposed on themselves,” Farred said. ”A reporter is asking you about your win, and you’re now having to deal with an obviously political question Nico Hischier Jersey , not of your making. It’s not a good situation to be in, one way or the other.”

    Asked about the feud on Wednesday, the Eagles tried to move on. Rather than answer reporters’ questions, safety Malcolm Jenkins silently held up poster boards referring to problems he has worked to change, including urban violence and mass incarceration.

    For two years, the NFL protests have divided fans, largely along racial lines, and given Trump a powerful issue with which to fire up his core supporters.

    During the season, the president referred to the protesting players as ”sons of bitches” and suggested at a rally in Alabama before a mostly white audience that they be fired. Last month, in response to the NFL owners’ decision to punish kneeling, Trump said players who continue to protest ”maybe shouldn’t be in the country.”

    Farred said that while Trump is likely to return to the issue, he risks overplaying his hand: ”How many swing voters can he afford to alienate?”

    The question could come up again soon, with the Washington Capitals on the verge of winning the Stanley Cup against the Vegas Golden Knights. Though they may have to confront the question of whether to go to the White House Tyler Bozak Jersey , for most of the players, their patriotism would not be at issue.

    Only three of the Capitals are American.

    Derrick Henry has patiently waited for his chance to shine and now heading into his third NFL season the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner will have his chance.

    Henry isn’t sharing any specific goals for yards or touchdowns, but the Tennessee Titans running back made one thing clear: He is looking forward to a big season.

    ”I definitely want to be dominant this year,” Henry said, adding that he plans to make the most of any opportunities he gets. The former Alabama standout said he just wants to ”make plays for this offense, be a consistent back. Make plays any chance that I’m in there and just do what I’m asked.”

    And above all else, Henry wants to ”help this team win games.”

    The soft-spoken Henry gave a glimpse of just what he could do in the NFL in the Titans’ comeback victory in Kansas City , running for 156 yards for the second-best playoff performance in franchise history.

    But Henry doesn’t define being dominant by putting up big numbers.

    Henry’s definition is ”having a great game every game and have an impact every game at my position. …. How I make plays and what I do throughout the game to help this team win.”

    There were questions why general manager Jon Robinson used his third pick in the second round in 2016 to select Henry only weeks after trading for DeMarco Murray , the 2014 NFL Offensive Player of the Year. Turned out to be a good move; the Titans cut Murray in March after his production dropped last season.

    They also signed Dion Lewis to join Henry in the backfield, but the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry led the Titans with 744 yards rushing last season despite starting only two games and getting eight fewer carries than Murray.

    ”Dions’ a great guy, and we’ve been getting along very well,” Henry said. ”Very excited to have a tandem together.”

    The Titans aren’t saying who will start at running back. Tennessee plays Aug. 9 at Green Bay the regular season opener is Sept. 9 at Miami.

    Lewis was signed for his skills catching passes out of the backfield to fit the new offense being installed by coordinator Matt LaFleur. Henry didn’t have as much of a chance to showcase his hands in college with just 17 catches Youth Mark Letestu Jersey , but he did have 35 yards receiving in last year’s wild-card game in Kansas City.

    That helped Henry set a franchise-record in the postseason with 191 yards from scrimmage, topping the mark of 178 yards set by Billy Cannon on Jan. 1, 1961, in the AFL.

    First-year head coach Mike Vrabel said everyone is working for a starting job.

    ”As we continue to work through the offense and through the plays and the complimentary type of football that we want to run, some of those things will sort themselves out. The plays that we like with Dion and the plays that we like with Derrick are going to start to emerge,” Vrabel said.

    One thing’s for sure: LaFleur’s offense will be leaning on outside zone runs, and that should play into Henry’s strength. That’s what he ran in college at Alabama where he became the Crimson Tide’s all-time leading rusher with 3,591 yards and 42 TDs rushing.

    ”I like it a lot,” Henry said of the offensive scheme.

    NOTES: Safety Johnathan Cyprien walked off the field Wednesday with trainers after apparently hurting his left knee. … Vrabel said CB Malcolm Butler and DL Jurrell Casey had the day off to help them with a couple issues hoping they return Thursday. Vrabel said rookie LB Rashaan Evans, the No. 22 pick overall, is day to day with an unspecified injury. … The Titans placed OT John Theus on the reserve/retired list.

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