By Julia Karron
After the Washington Capitals announced they would visit the White House on Monday, reporters tried to clarify which team members would attend the visit.
Goalie Braden Holtby, an outspoken advocate of LGBTQIA+ rights, said he would address the media on the issue Friday after the teams morning skate.
Holtby will not be going to the White House. “I gotta stay true to my values and I’m gonna respectfully decline the offer,” he told the media after practice.
#Caps goalie Braden Holtby talks with the media prior to tonight's game against the Minnesota Wild. #ALLCAPS #CapsWild pic.twitter.com/LPX7pQ2suG
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 22, 2019
“In the end I never really came up with a situation where I would feel comfortable going,” Holtby said. “My family and myself, we believe in a world where humans are treated with respect regardless of your stature, what you’re born into. So I think that’s just where it’s at in terms of this decision. You’re asked to choose which side you’re on and I hope it’s pretty clear what side I’m on.”
Holtby noted that he wanted to stay true to his values, but didn’t begrudge any of his teammates who took up the offer to go.
“We stick by every single teammate that we have and their decision,” Holtby said. “I think our team, we’re trying to take the most professional way we can and give every player their right to choose and stand by each and every one of us, regardless of what you decide.”
Fans tweeted that if Holtby declined the visit it would a huge nod of support to those in the LGBTQIA+ community who feel attacked by Trump’s policies.
Brandi Holtby, Braden’s wife, has endorsed this line of thinking, favoriting Ian Oland’s tweet who suggested Holtby should take a stand.
Holtby’s support of the LGBTQ community has spanned his time in Washington. He’s marched in two of DC’s pride parades, and when he couldn’t last year because he was galavanting with the Cup, he was able to snag a pride hat while Brandi attended in person with a rainbow Stanley Cup.
Holtby also spoke at the Human Right’s Campaign’s National Dinner earlier this season, and said the Caps are “proof that supporting LGBTQ equality is a winning decision, and we’re honored to stand with you in this fight.”
“My wife has taught me a lot more about it than I knew before, and kind of broadened my views on a lot of LGBT community issues,” Holtby told Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post in 2016. “We’ve just gotten to know people in around the community, and the issues they go through and what they’re trying to accomplish. We’ve tried to support them in different ways to create equality, basically. It’s something that we both feel is an issue that’s close to us, an issue we believe in.”
Holtby joins Brett Connolly as the only other current member on the Capitals’ current roster who has declined.
Connolly confirmed he would not be joining the team and addressed the media after Tuesday’s game.
Capitals winger Brett Connolly said he will not visit the White House on Monday.
“I respectfully decline.”
— Chris Kuc (@ChrisKuc) March 20, 2019
Devante Smith-Pelly, now with the Hershey Bears, said last year that if the Caps won the Stanley Cup, he would not attend the visit too.
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