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Nationals Pitcher on White House Visit: 'I Just Can't Do It'

Sean Doolittle won't attend Monday to celebrate World Series win, citing aversion to Trump's actions
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2019 9:00 AM CDT
Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle leaves the game during the eighth inning of Game 4 of the National League Championship Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Oct. 15, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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(Newser) – The Nationals finally have their World Series rings, and with that honor came an expected invite to the White House, a Monday event that was announced on Friday, per Fox News. One person who won't be celebrating there: relief pitcher Sean Doolittle, who talked extensively about his decision with the Washington Post. "At the end of the day, as much as I wanted to be there with my teammates and share that experience with my teammates, I can't do it," he says. "I just can't do it." The 33-year-old explains even though he struggled on not basking in this moment with his team, he disagrees strongly with many of President Trump's actions, particularly on those regarding race relations, and ultimately felt he had to stand by his beliefs. "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," he says.

"My wife and I stand for inclusion and acceptance, and we've done work with refugees, people that come from, you know, the 'shithole countries,'" he adds, referencing the president's take on immigrants from Africa and Haiti. Doolittle also notes his wife's family is heavily involved with the LGBTQ community—"I want to show support for them; I think that's an important part of allyship"—and that he has a brother-in-law with autism. "[Trump] is a guy that mocked a disabled reporter," he says. "How would I explain that to [my brother-in-law] that I hung out with somebody who mocked the way that he talked, or the way that he moves his hands? I can't get past that stuff." As for people telling him to respect the office of the president, Doolittle says Trump himself has "maybe" disrespected the office with rhetoric that Doolittle says enables racism: "I don't want to hang out with somebody who talks like that." (Read more Washington Nationals stories.)

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