Washington Capitals' goaltender Braden Holtby will not be joining his teammates on their White House visit Monday, citing his support for the LGBT community as a motivation.
Holtby is the second current player to publicly announce he would not attend the visit after Caps forward Brett Connolly made his decision Tuesday. Devante Smith-Pelly, who is currently in the minor leagues, also said last summer he would not attend the visit should the opportunity arise.
“It’s one of those things that we have to think about, but with me, I’ve got to stay true to my values, and I’m going respectfully decline the offer,” Holtby said during a media event.
Teammates are supporting each other whether they attend the White House visit or not, NBC Sports Washington's JJ Regan reports.
“In saying that, it’s a tough situation for everyone to be in, to be forced to make a decision of that standing. You’re a team and you want to stick together no matter what, so I hope everyone kind of blows it away and that we don’t worry about who goes and who doesn’t," Holtby said. "For me, it’s just a personal thing. I believe in what I believe in, and in order to stick to those values, I think I have to do what I feel is right, but that doesn’t make a difference on everyone else’s decision."
The Canadian goalie's decision comes after both the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles and two-time champion Golden State Warriors declined to make a formal visit.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, who were back-to-back Stanley Cup champions in 2016 and 2017, visited the White House after both wins. President Obama was in office for the first year and President Trump was in office for the second.
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This year's visit will not have any media. Instead, it will be a private tour of the White House.