When Filet-O-Fish aficionado Donald Trump invited the Clemson Tigers to enjoy the White House's first Presidential Value Meal, most of Clemson's national championship football team members jumped at the opportunity to meet the original cheeseburger-swallowing clown.
The Root exclusively reported Tuesday that only 15 black players out of the 57 on the team's official roster attended the event on January 14, which made headlines after Trump served fast-food due to the partial government shutdown.
Of the 57 black players eligible to attend, only 15 accepted the White House's invitation, causing some to question why no outlet had reported on the significant no-show. Another player explained that there wasn't a concerted effort to boycott the visit but that every person on the team was free to make their own decision.
According to the trio, several black athletes specifically cited "racism" and "their disdain for Trump's divisive politics" as reasons why they weren't going to Washington.
The players confirmed that players did not feel pressured by coaches, staff, or administration to attend the event.
"Not saying anything against the players who went, but if you look at who went-freshmen and people fighting for playing time-you'll see what I'm talking about", the junior player told The Root.
There was no team-wide meeting or discussion about the visit, The Root said.
Three black Clemson players told the President that many players, black and white, did not want to attend the dinner.
75% of the black players on Clemson's championship football team did not attend the WH celebration.
Joe Galbraith, Clemson's associate vice president for strategic communications, said in an email to The Root that 76 student-athletes, which is "approximately two-thirds" of the entire team, were in attendance. "Other student-athletes had class obligations as the spring semester began the week prior", Galbraith added.
The Tigers players who were mentioned in this story were quick to say that Clemson nor head coach Dabo Swinney held this against them, which is refreshing to know that players and coaches can agree to disagree without repercussions.
"You think players just wanted to go to classes so bad?" one of them asked in jest.
As noted by vox.com, speaking to reporters before the team showed up, Trump proudly displayed the spread of "great American food", and said, "we have 300 hamburgers, many, many french fries - all of our favorite foods".