There are more important things than football. But an invitation to the White House is not one of them.
The Oakland Raiders' new punter, Chris Kluwe -- who has been a vocal and outspoken supporter of gay marriage and equal rights for LGBT people -- was invited to the White House to attend a reception for Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Month, as first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
But Kluwe had to regretfully decline President Barack Obama's invitation, the newspaper reported: for June 13, the date of the reception, is during the Raiders' "three-day mandatory minicamp."
In other words, it was a choice between travel to the White House and working towards making the team.
"[U]nfortunately, not even the President of the United States is allowed to supersede an NFL mandatory mini-camp practice (at least insomuch as I can understand the new CBA, though I could possibly be mistaken), and as a current member of the Oakland Raiders, I owe it to both my teammates and my coaches to be fully prepared for the upcoming season," Kluwe told the president in a letter.
Kluwe, who played for eight years in Minnesota before -- some think -- the team tired of his political advocacy, is competing with Marquette King for the starting job in Oakland.
Kluwe averaged 44.4 yards per punt in Minnesota, but in another preseason workout, King was launching 70-yard kicks.
Kluwe isn't the only Bay Area player to decline a White House invitation this week. 49er wide receiver Anquan Boldin said he will not attend the traditional ceremony held for Super Bowl winners. Boldin was a member of the Raven's last season when they beat the 49ers. Instead, Boldin said he will participate his new team in organized team activities.
Unfortunately I'm going to miss a great opportunity to be with my Super Bowl team at the White House.
— Anquan Boldin (@AnquanBoldin) June 3, 2013