President Obama is welcoming the undefeated 1972 Dolphins to the White House today, but three players won’t be there because they have a problem with the president.
Former Dolphins guard Bob Kuechenberg, center Jim Langer and defensive tackle Manny Fernandez all told Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel that they don’t want to appear alongside a president whose policies they don’t support.
“I’ll just say my views are diametrically opposed to the president’s,” Fernandez said. “Enough said. Let’s leave it at that. I hope everyone enjoys the trip who goes.”
Added Kuechenberg, “I want to be careful, because mom said if you have nothing good to say about someone, then don’t say anything. I don’t have anything good to say about someone.”
Langer suggested that it would be phony for him to pretend he has something to celebrate in the White House, as long as Obama is occupying the White House.
“We’ve got some real moral compass issues in Washington,” Langer said. “I don’t want to be in a room with those people and pretend I’m having a good time. I can’t do that. If that [angers] people, so be it.”
Whether it angers people or not, Hyde notes that it does feed a widespread perception that the ’72 Dolphins are a bunch of “Grumpy Old Men” who don’t take much joy in celebrating their great accomplishment but do delight in denigrating others, and toasting when the last undefeated NFL team loses each season. Obama is rightly recognizing that the ’72 Dolphins were a great team. If three players can’t put politics aside for long enough to enjoy that recognition, that’s their problem.