FACT CHECK: Did The Tampa Bay Buccaneers Refuse To Go To The White House?
A post shared on Facebook claims the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the winners of the 2021 Super Bowl, refused an invitation to the White House because the election was “stolen.”
There is no evidence that the Buccaneers refused an invitation to the White House. The claim appears to have originated on a satire website.
It’s a long-standing tradition for professional and collegiate sports teams to be invited to the White House to meet the president after they win championships, according to ESPN. During former President Donald Trump’s administration, several teams and players refused to attend such ceremonies, Business Insider reported. (RELATED: Did Tom Brady Say, ‘If Anybody On This Team Kneels, I Walk’?)
This particular Facebook post claims the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the winners of Super Bowl LV, refused their invitation to the White House because they claim it was “stolen.” Trump has asserted that the 2020 presidential election was rigged in favor of Biden, despite no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to The Associated Press.
There is no indication, however, that the team has declined to visit the White House or Biden. When athletes decline invitations to meet with the president, it typically garners media attention. Had the Buccaneers decided not to visit the White House, there would be media reports on it, yet there are none.
Check Your Fact also looked through press releases from the Buccaneers, but found no announcement of their refusal to visit the White House. A search of the team’s verified social media accounts likewise turned up no announcement.
The claim may stem from an article posted on the satirical website TaterForce One which bears the headline, “Superbowl Champions Refuse Invitation to ‘Stolen’ White House.” While TaterForce One clearly discloses the satirical nature of its work, some Facebook users have shared the claim without such a warning, seemingly believing it to be true.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said that the Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Lakers, the 2020 NBA champions, would be invited to the White House once it was “COVID safe,” according to Yahoo News.