Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/26/13
For years a team trip to the White House was considered an honor, and certainly not a time to make waves. However, with the increased polarization of politics, sports has become more politicized, too, and more and more athletes and others from the world of athletics feel compelled to speak out. Tim Thomas certainly made those types of waves a year ago when he declined to join the rest of his Boston teammates to visit President Obama. Los Angeles Kings forward Dustin Penner, about to head to Washington D.C. with the rest of the Stanley Cup champions, recently took a shot at Thomas via Twitter, questioning why anyone would pass up a free trip to the District of Columbia. However, it turns out not all of the Kings are so apolitical. In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter says he plans to use his opportunity to get the president’s ear on one of the many controversial issues currently being mulled in Washington. Sutter says he plans to lobby in favor of the extension of the Keystone Pipeline, which would transport domestic oil directly from Canada to Texas. “I’m gonna ask him about it — damn rights I am,” said Sutter. “It’s 20 feet underground. How can we not want to keep North America [energy self-sufficient]? Why does the border have to separate that? It doesn’t make sense. For sure, I’m going to ask him.” Here in the U.S. the issue remains largely divisive, with those for the project claiming that it will help create North American energy independence, while those against cite environmental concerns and a potentially narrow economic impact. However, Canadians, like Sutter, have been largely in favor of the extension, as it will help their product reach refineries in Texas. For the record, Sutter owns a 3,000-acre ranch in Viking, Alberta, which may play into his political affiliations. However, the former Blackhawk says he doesn’t plan to make any such potential conversation a distraction, noting his and Obama’s mutual Chicago ties. “I think it’ll be awesome and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Sutter of the opportunity to meet the president. Photo via Facebook/Darryl Sutter
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