Alex Cora finally made his decision this week about whether he would go with the team to The White House to celebrate their World Series victory. Cora is not going. Neither are many of the other players including Xander Bogaerts, David Price, and Rafael Devers. Whether you agree with him or not on this issue, Cora deserves respect for his decision. He’s the manager, and he’s setting an example about doing what one feels is right in the face of adversity.
“The government has done some things back home that are great, but we still have a long ways to go,” Cora is quoted as saying to the Associated Press. “That’s our reality. It’s pretty tough to go celebrate when we’re where we’re at. I’d rather not go and be consistent with everything.” Cora may have been referring to The White House’s claim that $91 billion was allocated to help rebuild Puerto Rico in the wake of a devastating hurricane. That number is well below what the unincorporated U.S. territory has actually received. While Cora did not specifically mention the president, it is difficult to ignore the white elephant in the room.
Red Sox Nation hasn’t hesitated at all to chime in with their opinion about Cora’s decision, many of them negative that question his patriotism and devotion to America. Some are angry that Cora isn’t showing respect for the U.S. President, whose office has a tradition of hosting victory celebrations for teams that won their respective championships. While this is true, today’s political climate has made it very challenging for sports teams to decide whether to visit The White House as part of their celebrations. Some say that teams should go regardless of who is president because that’s tradition. Others argue though that to go would not only validate the president’s controversial actions, but is a betrayal of their own feelings.
Cora Deserves Respect for Staying True to his Homeland
Cora is Puerto Rican and therefore American by birth. However, his primary allegiance is, and always will be, to his homeland. You can’t blame him for that. The fact that he made a well-thought out and articulate decision reflects his maturity. It also reflects his professionalism. In my view, he is saying that he will not partake in a celebration when there’s still so much to be done. Frankly, not only is he entitled to that belief, but he doesn’t really have to answer to anyone for his decision other than to ownership, and God.
The controversy to not attend such events at The White House is nothing new. The focus on a zero sum scenario where one side has to be completely correct and justified, and the other side can’t have even a modicum of respect makes it challenging to have rational discussions about this topic. Cora did not personally criticize anyone though. He showed his appreciation for what the government has done, but is also stating that there’s much more to do. Furthermore, Cora is not obligated to fulfill anyone’s definition of patriotism or loyalty. While he will have to accept any consequences of his decision, it doesn’t make him any less of a man. Going to The White House wouldn’t make him a patriot anymore than standing in a garage would make him a car.
I commend Cora for standing up for himself, and more importantly, for Puerto Rico. There’s a rich history of athletes, both Democrat and Republican, who received their fair share of criticism for making similar decisions. At the end of the day, anyone who says that Cora is making a political statement is missing the point. If anything, they’re contradicting themselves by trying to make it about politics. It’s not about politics, it’s about doing what he thinks is right. With that said, Cora deserves respect for his decision not to go to The White House.