By Rebecca Heilweil
Updated at 7:15 p.m. ET
As is tradition, members of the Boston Red Sox were invited to the White House to honor the team's 2018 World Series victory. But nearly a dozen players, as well as the team manager, did not attend Thursday's event.
All of those who declined the invite are people of color. Meanwhile, most of the players [who attended] (http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/26710709/red-sox-contingent-honored-white-house) are white, except J.D. Martinez who is of Cuban descent.
"I do think that history will not look back kindly on the decision of the players and executives who decided to attend today," Britni de la Cretaz, a freelance sports writer, told Cheddar. She added that the Red Sox, by not making a team-wide decision to skip the visit, could be "forcing their players of color to make a political statement when they may not have wanted to."
Not all of the team members have publicly shared why they're not attending. But Hector Velazquez, a Red Sox player whose family still lives in Mexico, told MassLive.com earlier that Trump's racist comments about Mexicans led to his decision not to attend. "I have a lot of people in Mexico that are fans of me, that follow me. And I’m from there. So I would rather not offend anyone over there," he said.
The team's manager Alex Cora, who is from Puerto Rico, is also skipped the event. “The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go,” Cora [told the Associated Press] (https://www.apnews.com/12f023cbe9a040f0b24c6c2360455292) earlier this week. "It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.”
"It's really not great optics to have so many teammates and front office members not openly supporting the manager, who has been very clear about why he's not going, as a Puerto Rican who feels like the Trump administration and White House really let down Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria," said de la Cretaz.
De la Cretaz adds that this division on the team comes amid the Red Sox's efforts to grapple with its racist history. Last year, it was decided that a street outside Fenway Park honoring former Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who had a [history of racism and resisted integration] (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/18/sports/baseball/red-sox-thomas-yawkey-integration.html) would be renamed. She also mentioned an initiative that the Red Sox, working with four other Boston-area sports teams, recently began called "Take the Lead" that aims to tackle racism and hate speech at stadiums and among fans.
The Red Sox players are only the latest athletes to skip a stop at the White House. Entire teams, including the Philadelphia Eagles and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels, have turned down Trump's invitation.
"Donald Trump's election changed the nature of the visit. His politics have been so harmful and hostile to marginalized groups, and particularly in baseball," said de la Cretaz. "Many players in Major League Baseball are immigrants, so the immigration policies and the things that Trump has said, and the xenophobia, directly impacts these players and their loved ones."