On Tuesday, the Pittsburgh Penguins will be attending the White House as guests of President Trump to celebrate their Stanley Cup championship. This afternoon, it'll be President Donald Trump doing the honors.
He then asked for the audience to give a round of applause to the police and first responders in Las Vegas who acted following the deadliest mass shooting in us history in September.
"You are true, true champions and incredible patriots", he added later.
"By the way, everybody wanted be here today".
Sullivan reiterated that the team's attendance at the ceremony does not reflect the Penguins organization's position, nor its players' stance.
Trump later said the Penguins "are ready for the challenge" of trying to win three consecutive Stanley Cups since the New York Islanders of the early 1980s. "That's what they are". Sullivan said he wouldn't have a problem if one of his players took a knee during the national anthem.
The Penguins had one black player on their championship team, Trevor Daley, but he signed with Detroit in the offseason and did not travel to Washington because the Red Wings were playing in Dallas.
The comment drew widespread condemnation from sports stars and NFL owners, some of whom joined their players on the field to lock arms during the national anthem in defiance of the President. He tweeted that he instructed Vice President Mike Pence to leave a game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday if there were any anthem protests, which Pence did.
For them - agree or disagree - this was not political.