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Trump critic Alex Cora addresses Red Sox accepting White House invite

The Boston Red Sox have accepted an invitation from the White House to attend a ceremony during which the team’s World Series championship will be celebrated. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who previously criticized Donald Trump over comments about his native Puerto Rico, pledged not to be a distraction during the visit.

“I’m gonna use my platform the right way,” Cora said Monday, via ESPN. “I’m not gonna embarrass anybody. Actually, I’m gonna represent 4 million people from back home the right way when we go there.”

Red Sox president Sam Kennedy confirmed Monday at a screening of the team’s World Series documentary that the organization has accepted the invitation, although no date has been confirmed for the visit. Kennedy also stressed attending the ceremony is not mandatory for players.

“Like in the past, it’s an invitation. It’s not a mandatory command performance,” Kennedy said. “It’s a great opportunity for the players, an invitation for the players and ownership. It’s a great opportunity for those guys to go to the White House and get the behind-the-scenes tour and get the recognition they deserve for the world championship.”

The notion that Cora must feel somewhat conflicted over the White House visit stems in large part to how he criticized Trump over minimizing the death toll in Puerto Rico from 2017’s Hurricane Maria, calling the President’s comments “disrespectful.”

Cora’s comments Monday echo what he said at the Red Sox’s World Series parade in Boston earlier this year.

“If you start looking at this team, we’ve got guys from the United States and from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Puerto Rico,” Cora said at the time. “So I’ll use the platform the right way. I respect the president of the United States. And I know he helped our country.”

Whether to accept an invitation extended by the White House has become a difficult decision due to the current polarizing political climate. Trump has frequently inserted himself into the dialogue surrounding certain controversial issues in sports, which in turn has inspired some organizations to decline such an invitation.