Why sports teams and players shouldn't be obligated to meet the president.
Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Golden State Warriors went through all of the celebratory traditions after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 5 of the NBA Finals to become this year's league champions: They relished in falling confetti, took photos with their beaming families, promptly donned their new "NBA champions" hats, and raised their shiny new trophy into the air as one.

But there's a very big tradition the Warriors may not be partaking in this year: meeting the president.

According to some unconfirmed reports that surfaced in the hours after the game, the Golden State Warriors may not be visiting the White House to meet President Donald Trump.


Pro teams often get White House invites after bringing home the gold in their sport. But, according to an unsubstantiated tweet from CNBC analyst Josh Brown, the Golden State Warriors voted to opt out of the event just hours after beating the Cavaliers.

Brown's tweet quickly took off, with people both praising and critiquing the team's "unanimous" decision.

In response, the team released a statement on the matter, contradicting Brown's Tweet.

"Today is all about celebrating our championship," the statement read. "We have not received an invitation to the White House, but will make those decisions when and if necessary."

If the Warriors do end up deciding against a trip to D.C., though, it won't be all that surprising to many Golden State fans.

Many Warriors players have been critical of Trump over the past several months.

In February, star player Steph Curry was asked if he agreed with Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's comments referring to Trump as a "real asset."

"I agree with that description — if you remove the 'et' [from 'asset']," Curry shot back.

Steph Curry. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

Warriors Coach Steve Kerr — whose father was killed by terrorism in Lebanon in 1984 — also slammed Trump's proposed travel ban targeting Muslims in January:

"As someone whose family member was a victim of terrorism, and having lost my father: If we’re trying to combat terrorism by banishing people from coming to this country, [we’re] really going against the principles of what our country is about, and creating fear. It’s the wrong way to go about it. If anything, we could be breeding anger and terror."

Coach Steve Kerr. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images.

Golden State guard Shaun Livingston said months ago that, should his team win the championship, he "definitely wouldn't go" to the White House. After Trump's inauguration, player David West claimed Trump voters "responded to some of the most infantile, non-decent language that you could expect coming from a [presidential] candidate."

The Warriors' big NBA win comes after many New England Patriots skipped out on their White House visit following their Super Bowl victory. Defensive tackle Alan Branch was one of the players who sat on the sidelines for the event, citing the "disgusting" way Trump talks about women as the main reason he couldn't follow through.

The attitudes of many Warriors and Patriots illustrate why each team and every player should make their own decisions when it comes to a White House visit.

After all, very little about this presidency is normal.

In years past, pro sports teams and their players have put politics aside — regardless of who's in office — and accepted the honor. But an abnormal president calls for bucking normal traditions.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Photo by Adelin Preda on Unsplash

A multinational study found that bystanders intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The recent news report of a woman on a Philadelphia train being raped while onlookers did nothing to stop it was shocking and horrible, without question. It also got people discussing the infamous "bystander effect," which has led people to believe—somewhat erroneously, as it turns out—that people aren't likely to intervene when they see someone being attacked in public. Stories like this uninterrupted train assault combined with a belief that bystanders rarely step in can easily lead people to feel like everything and everyone is horrible.

But according to the most recent research on the subject, the Philadelphia incident appears to be the exception, not the rule. A 2019 multinational study found that at least one bystander (but usually more) will actually intervene in 9 out of 10 public conflicts.

The idea that people in groups aren't likely to intervene stems largely from research on the 1964 story of Kitty Genovese, a 28-year-old woman who was stabbed to death outside her apartment in New York, while dozens of onlookers in surrounding apartment buildings allegedly did nothing. However, further research has called the number of witnesses into question, and it appears that several did, in fact, call the police. Someone reportedly shouted out their window and scared the attacker away for a few minutes, and someone did rush to Genovese's aid after the second attack.

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