One week after announcing plans to travel to the White House in celebration of their undefeated 1972 season, some Miami Dolphins football team members have declined to visit, citing political differences with President Obama.
Obama will personally honor their undefeated season, including regular games and the Super Bowl, with as many as five players refusing to attend the ceremony.
"I want to be careful, because mom said if you have nothing good to say about someone, then don't say anything,” former offensive lineman Bob Kuechenberg said. “I don't have anything good to say about someone.”
Jim Langer also declined to attend, saying that Washington lacked a moral compass, and that he could not participate in a party full of people he disagreed with and act entertained.
“If that [angers] people,” Langer said, “so be it.”
However, most players have expressed excitement in participating in the ceremony, which was originally canceled while then-President Richard Nixon dealt with Watergate.
"I'm honored that the accomplishments of the 1972 Dolphins are going to be recognized by the president," coach Don Shula said. "I know it's something that all of us will enjoy and remember."
Linebacker Nick Buoniconti has also expressed his interest in the ceremony, noting that the recognition has been a long time coming.
When asked if the President was disappointed by some of the team members’ decisions, White House spokesperson John Earnest said people are free to make their own decisions, and that the President is looking forward to the event.