Mike Sullivan is setting the record straight after NHL Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins accepted an invitation from controversial United States president Donald Trump to visit the White House.
The Penguins confirmed their attendance in Washington after Trump withdrew an invitation for NBA champions the Golden State Warriors to visit the American capital.
Trump's decision sparked backlash throughout the NBA and across the country but Penguins head coach Sullivan insisted Pittsburgh's decision to meet the president is not political.
"There appears to be a perception out there that because our organisation has made a decision to accept the invitation to the White House that we have taken a stance on the issue, when the reality is it's just the opposite," Sullivan said on Wednesday.
"We haven't take any stance. The Penguins as an organisation and our players have chosen not to use this platform to take a stance. There appears to be a perception that we have. It's wrong."
Sullivan also defended captain Sidney Crosby after the star came under fire on Sunday for saying he supported the team's decision to go to the White House.
"The fact that people seem to think that Sid needs to bear this burden of responsibility is unfair," Sullivan said.
"This guy does nothing but go to the rink, help the Penguins win championships and be a good person every day. That's how we see it. Having said that, we have respect for those that choose to express themselves differently. I wish we would receive the same respect in return, and I wish our captain would as well."
Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto will skip the Stanley Cup champions' appearance at the White House on October 10, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will join the former in taking a knee for the team's visit.
Both Peduto and Fitzgerald were with the Penguins for the visit celebrating their 2016 Stanley Cup championship last October, when Barack Obama was in the Oval Office.
20 de octubre 2017
|Manchester City star De Bruyne wants trophies, not awards|
|UEFA charge Roma over alleged racist chanting at Chelsea match|
|Ibrahimovic tipped for December return by training partner Cole|
|Savea replaces injured Todd on All Blacks bench|
|Schweinsteiger ´open to everything´ as he nears end of Chicago Fire contract|
|Ferrari issues have handed Hamilton the title - Button|
|Neymar confirmed wish to leave Barcelona at Messi´s wedding, says Xavi|
|Thomas battles to stay among the leaders as Luke tops the List in Jeju|
|Kershaw jokes he ´might retire´ if Dodgers win World Series|
|Westbrook posts historic triple-double for new-look Thunder|
|Espargaro edges Marquez, Dovizioso in practice|
|Raiders claim exhilarating win over Chiefs|
|Cronk wants to play in 2018, says agent|
|De Bruyne: Man City, United fighting for title|
|Dodgers crush Cubs to reach first World Series since 1988|
|Marshawn Lynch ejected after shoving official|
|WATCH: Hernandez crushes Cubs´ hopes with grand slam|
|Vettel retains F1 title hope|
|LeBron still trying to get into playing shape|
|Wilshere will get Premier League chance – Wenger|
|Giroud: I got lucky with Red Star winner|
|Astros manager Hinch reminds everyone ALCS is not over|
|Lakers coach Walton says players will ´come after´ Lonzo Ball|
|F1 Raceweek: Hamilton dismisses title talk as Alonso eyes future challenge|
|Montella urges fans to ´stand by´ Milan after San Siro boos|
|Koeman admits he could be sacked by Everton|
|Carreno Busta´s Finals hopes take Moscow blow, Dimitrov and Goffin stay on course|
19 de octubre 2017
|Gloucester back on track with Agen hammering|
|Everton 1 Lyon 2: Koeman feeling the heat, while Williams brawl overshadows spectacle|
|Bridgewater: I definitely believe I will play this year|
|AC Milan 0 AEK Athens 0: Frustration mounts for Montella in dour draw|
|MRI on Warriors forward Green´s knee negative|
|Giroud promised special winner, Wenger reveals|
|Injured Kyrgios finished for 2017|
|Former Croatia striker Klasnic undergoes third kidney operation|
|Garcia looking at home in Valderrama|
|Red Star Belgrade 0 Arsenal 1: Giroud´s special winner lights up drab encounter|
|Shakespeare: Leicester will ´pull away´ from Premier League danger|
|Robben yet to hold talks over new Bayern Munich contract|
|Bilic denies West Ham have discipline problem|
|Hamilton has no plans to take a knee at US Grand Prix|
|Alonso is the most complete driver in F1, says Button|
|Alonso to stay with McLaren|
|Nets guard Jeremy Lin out for season with ruptured patella tendon|
|Coles hails retiring Moore as ´one of the greats´|
|Benteke progressing ´ahead of schedule´|
|Ancelotti to Leicester unlikely, says Clement|
|Berdych´s World Tour Finals chances ended by back injury|
|Dyche not aware of any approach amid Leicester speculation|
|I love you, take my watch! – How Arnautovic earned a special gift from Mourinho|
|Hafeez reported for suspect bowling action|
|´Surprised´ Appleton calls for Foxes focus after Shakespeare sacking|
|Harris: Stokes should follow Warner´s example|
|Brighton boss Hughton feels ´unacceptable´ behaviour remains in football|
|Markram replaces rested Amla for final ODI|
|Benzema ´very happy´ at Real Madrid amid Arsenal rumours|
|Azpilicueta admits to low mood in Chelsea camp|
|Lozowski ends exit talk by signing Saracens extension|
|Button reveals where he plans to race in 2018|
|Bacca: I played for the worst AC Milan in history|
|I don´t want the dog meat, I want the dog himself - Saunders targeting Golovkin or Canelo|
|Aluko ´100 per cent´ in England contention, says interim boss|
|Injured Napoli striker Milik hints at loan move|
|Dortmund not expecting Reus exit|
|Neymar plans to emulate Messi by mentoring Mbappe|
|Mourinho still unclear on fitness of Pogba and Fellaini|
|Wests Tigers centre Idris retires at 27|
|Sodhi replaces injured Astle in New Zealand´s ODI squad|
|Heynckes happy with Muller form|
|Kane describes Ronaldo as ´role model´ following shirt swap|