Fanhouse reports that James Harrison will skip the Steelers’ visit to the White House next week.
Over the years it became White House tradition to invite the championship NFL/MLB/NBA/NHL winning team for a visit. I’m not sure when this all started, but President Nixon was known for at least calling the champion after victory was secured.
More from Fanhouse: [...] But unlike last year’s Giants, who were spurred more by their 18-0 opponent than a chance to spend an afternoon with the most unpopular president in a half-century, some players [...] are using the opportunity to stand with Barack Obama on the South Lawn as motivation to win the Super Bowl, according to NFL.com’s Adam Schefter.
So Harrison wants to skip the visit. What’s the big deal? Sure, many would consider such a visit an honor under most circumstances. Obviously, Mr. Harrison is not among that group. Perhaps he’d rather avoid the pomp and circumstance. Perhaps he values his privacy. Perhaps he’s allergic to politicians. Who knows? In the end, who cares? Enjoy your day off, James Harrison, you earned it.
Update: According to Ed Bouchette of the Post Gazette, Mr. Harrison’s avoidance of the White House is a secondary effect of his fear of flying. With only eight regular season road games per year, Harrison certainly picked the right sport of the big four. Maybe John Madden can swing by in his cruiser? Yeah, that’s the ticket!