Carlos Correa was noticeably absent as the Houston Astros attended a ceremony Monday at the White House to celebrate the team’s World Series title with Donald Trump. On Tuesday, the All-Star shortstop explained why.
Some presumably have inferred Correa, a native of Puerto Rico, opted out of the visit as a sign of protest over the U.S. government’s response to the humanitarian crisis in his homeland in the wake of Hurricane Maria. However, that was not the case, as Correa instead spent Monday arranging for more relief supplies to be shipped to Puerto Rico.
“It was not politics or anything,” Correa said Tuesday, via the New York Post. “It was just that the day off was perfect to be able to provide some help for the people in Puerto Rico in need.”
Trump has been roundly criticized for the government’s efforts in providing aid and assistance to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, especially when compared to what Texas and Florida received following Hurricane Harvey.
“I didn’t think it was right for me to go and talk to the president about Puerto Rico when we were going there for the team, for the amazing year we had and for what we brought to the city of Houston. It’s an honor to be invited to the White House,” Correa said. “I want to thank the president for all the help he provided to my second hometown, which is Houston, and some of the help he’s provided to Puerto Rico, but we’re still in need in Puerto Rico.”
Carlos Beltran, a member of the Astros’ championship team who has since retired — as well as a native of Puerto Rico — also declined to attend Monday’s ceremony.
Players, not to mention entire teams, refusing an invitation to the White House has become a political flash point since Trump took office. The impetus for said refusals stems in part from the president cultivating a relatively antagonistic attitude toward the current state of American sports, specifically the NFL.