Sean Doolittle Won’t Attend White House Ceremony For Washington Nationals

Pitcher has long history of speaking out about his political convictions

Sean Doolittle
Sean Doolittle during the 2019 MLB season.
Ian D'Andrea/Creative Commons
By Tobias Carroll / November 2, 2019 12:15 pm

“There’s a lot of things, policies that I disagree with, but at the end of the day, it has more to do with the divisive rhetoric and the enabling of conspiracy theories and widening the divide in this country.” That’s Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle explaining why he won’t be joining his teammates on a visit to the White House on Monday afternoon. 

Doolittle spoke with The Washington Post about his decision. In the Post’s article, Jesse Dougherty also noted that “multiple people close to the team said a handful of players are wrestling with the decision” of whether or not to skip the ceremony as well.

In Doolittle’s comments to the Post, he also addressed the President’s rhetoric on refugees. Doolittle pointed out that he and his wife have worked with refugees from some of the countries that President Trump has spoken derisively about.  

For anyone who has followed Doolittle’s career, this decision probably doesn’t come as a huge shock. In 2017, Doolittle spoke out against the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville and Trump’s response to it. That same year, Doolittle discussed veterans’ issues and the criticism some athletes faced for kneeling during the national anthem in an interview with ESPN

Doolittle remains one of the most fascinating professional athletes in the United States today: besides his charity work and his political discourse, he’s also a champion of independent bookstores. Taking a stand for something he believes in is nothing new for him, and his decision to skip Monday’s ceremony is the latest permutation of that. 

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