Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle declines White House invite: ‘I just can’t go’


NOVEMBER 3, 2019

Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle celebrates after defeating the Houston Astros in game six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park. – Troy Taormina, USA TODAY Sports

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle will not attend the White House for a World Series celebration on Monday, he told the Washington Post.

Doolittle became the first Nats player to publicly decline president Donald Trump’s invitation, telling the Post “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.”

Doolittle has never been shy of his liberal beliefs, which first hit the spotlight in the summer of 2017, when he was traded to Washington and Trump was in his first year of office. Though it was always possible, a decision over a White House visit became inevitable when the Nationals won the World Series this week.

After Game 5, Doolittle was asked how he felt about Trump — booed by the crowd when shown on the video board — attending the game. The left-hander simply said there was more security and “I really, really, really don’t want to talk about that.”

Doolittle and his wife, Eireann Dolan, have done extensive work with immigrants, and he’s been upset by Trump’s comments about their origin countries.

“My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we’ve done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the ‘(expletive) countries,'” Doolittle said.

Additionally, Doolittle wants to show support for Dolan’s two mothers who do extensive work in the LGBTQ community.

“I think that’s an important part of allyship, and I don’t want to turn my back on them,” Doolittle said. “I have a brother-in-law who has autism, and (Trump) is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter. How would I explain that to him that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can’t get past that stuff.

“I don’t want to hang out with somebody who talks like that.”

Whether to take these White House visits have become conscious decisions for championship teams to make during the Trump presidency. Of course, that’s pending an invite at all — Trump pulled the Philadelphia Eagles’ invite in 2018 because many players said they were not going.

Doolittle maintained he wanted to be respectful and genuinely hopes his teammates who do attend enjoy themselves.

“I want people to know that I put thought into this and, at the end of the day, I just can’t go,” Doolittle said.

“At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can’t do it,” he added. “I just can’t do it.”

Courtesy/Source: USA Today Sports