The majority of black players in Clemson University's national championship football team passed on attending Donald Trump’s McDonald’s lunch at the White House, citing "racism and divisive politics", according to reports.
According to The Root, the Clemson Tigers players, who spoke to the publication on the condition of anonymity, confirmed separately that the US president was the reason why almost a third of the entire team did not attend the infamous ‘McCookout.’
One of the footballers, identified as playing in the ‘offensive’ position, said:
It wasn’t like we had a team meeting or anything.
The players had spoken among themselves and realised many of them were not going to the fast food spread he prepared for the team on their visit to the White House.
A university spokesperson said in a statement that a total of 76 players attended the 14 January reception – approximately two thirds of the 119-person strong team (as of the 2018 roster).
However, the three players told The Root only 15 out of 57 black players attended, and most of them were early in their careers and wanted to get more playtime. Eleven of the 15 were freshmen or sophomores who didn’t have much playing time during the season.
One of the players said: "Not saying anything against the players who went.
But if you look at who went - freshman and people fighting for playing time - you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The students however insisted that neither their coaches, nor the staff or administration, pressured them to attend or asked them to keep quiet about their reasons for not going.