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Red Sox manager Cora to skip White House ceremony

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by Agence France-Presse

Boston Red Sox manager Alex Cora will skip a White House reception to honor the World Series champions, citing the Trump administration’s handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in his native Puerto Rico.

Cora has been critical of President Donald Trump’s response to the 2017 disaster, which caused widespread destruction and left nearly 3,000 dead, according to an independent investigation published in 2018.

Speaking on Sunday, Cora said he would not attend this Thursday’s ceremony, saying rebuilding of the island’s basic services since the hurricane had been inadequate.

“Unfortunately, we are still struggling, still fighting,” Cora said.

“Some people still lack basic necessities, others remain without electricity and many homes and schools are in pretty bad shape almost a year and a half after Hurricane Maria struck.

“I’ve used my voice on many occasions so that Puerto Ricans are not forgotten, and my absence is no different. As such, at this moment, I don’t feel comfortable celebrating in the White House.”

Cora said he had taken the decision after speaking with loved ones.

“The closest ones to me, we talked about it and we decided it’s the best way to do it,” Cora said.

The Boston Globe reported that the reception, which team management have said is optional, has divided the team.

Boston’s three African-American players — 2018 American League Most Valuable Player Mookie Betts, pitcher David Price and centerfielder Jackie Bradley Jr — all plan to skip the event, the Globe report said.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts, from Aruba, Dominican third baseman Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez, from Puerto Rico, had also opted out, the Globe added.

Visits to the White House by championship-winning sports teams have become a political football since Trump’s election in 2016.

According to one tally, of the 20 teams who have won championships in professional or US college sports, half have not been invited to attend or declined an invite, most notably the NBA champion Golden State Warriors in 2017 and 2018 and the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles in 2018.

Several teams which did attend receptions sent depleted squads.