South Carolina Women's Hoops Coach: No White House Invite

In this April 2, 2017, file photo, South Carolina coach Dawn Staley holds up the net as she and the team celebrate their win over Mississippi State in the final of NCAA women's Final Four college basketball tournament in Dallas. South Carolina won 67-55. Staley and her champion South Carolina Gamecocks are still waiting for their invite to the White House. Staley told The Associated Press on Friday night, Sept. 30, that she isn't even sure her team would go now if invited. AP Photo/LM Otero, File

Dawn Staley and her champion South Carolina Gamecocks are still waiting for their invite to the White House.

"We haven't gotten an invitation yet and that in itself speaks volumes," the women's basketball coach told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Friday night. "We won before those other teams won their championships. I don't know what else has to happen."

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James spoke Monday about the NFL protest saying President Trump is trying to divide the nation.

(Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

Staley said she isn't even sure her team, which won the NCAA women's basketball title in April, would go now if invited. The night her squad won the school's first national championship, the Hall of Famer said the team would go to the White House because "it's what it stands for. It's what national champions do."

That was before "some things," as Staley put it Friday night, "transpired over the last few months. I haven't talked to anyone about it. I got bigger fish to fry than worry about an invitation."

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Every previous NCAA women's basketball champion since 1983 has been invited to the White House, spanning five different presidents.

AP reporters counted more than 200 NFL players who did not stand during the national anthem before their games on Sunday. Six refused to stand the week before, mainly protesting police brutality. (Published Monday, Sept. 25, 2017)

Trips to the White House by sports teams this year are no longer a given.

The Golden State Warriors had an invite, but it was later rescinded by the White House when President Donald Trump tweeted that star guard Stephen Curry was "hesitating" in deciding whether to make the traditional champions' trip to Washington. The NHL champion Pittsburgh Penguins announced this week they would visit the White House. Both the Warriors and the Penguins won their titles months after South Carolina did.

Some teams have already made the trip to Washington. Clemson visited the White House this year after winning the College Football Playoff, some members of the New England Patriots went after their Super Bowl victory and the Chicago Cubs went to the Oval Office in June to commemorate their World Series title. The Cubs also had the larger and more traditional visit with President Barack Obama in January, four days before the Trump inauguration.

The North Carolina men's basketball team said last week that it won't visit the White House because of a scheduling conflict. A team spokesman said the Tar Heels were willing to go, but the university and White House tried "eight or nine" dates and none worked.

The President defended his tweets regarding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem over the weekend, saying criticism that the issue distracted him from the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico was unfair.

(Published Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017)

Staley, who is in California this weekend running her first USA Basketball camp as the national team's head coach, has been to the White House before. She represented the U.S. Olympic team when George W. Bush was president in 2004.