Mike Sullivan is setting the record straight after NHL Stanley Cup champions the Pittsburgh Penguins accepted an invitation from controversial United States president Donald Trump to visit the White House.
The Penguins confirmed their attendance in Washington after Trump withdrew an invitation for NBA champions the Golden State Warriors to visit the American capital.
Trump's decision sparked backlash throughout the NBA and across the country but Penguins head coach Sullivan insisted Pittsburgh's decision to meet the president is not political.
"There appears to be a perception out there that because our organisation has made a decision to accept the invitation to the White House that we have taken a stance on the issue, when the reality is it's just the opposite," Sullivan said on Wednesday.
"We haven't take any stance. The Penguins as an organisation and our players have chosen not to use this platform to take a stance. There appears to be a perception that we have. It's wrong."
Sullivan also defended captain Sidney Crosby after the star came under fire on Sunday for saying he supported the team's decision to go to the White House.
"The fact that people seem to think that Sid needs to bear this burden of responsibility is unfair," Sullivan said.
"This guy does nothing but go to the rink, help the Penguins win championships and be a good person every day. That's how we see it. Having said that, we have respect for those that choose to express themselves differently. I wish we would receive the same respect in return, and I wish our captain would as well."
Earlier on Wednesday, it was announced that Pittsburgh mayor Bill Peduto will skip the Stanley Cup champions' appearance at the White House on October 10, and Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald will join the former in taking a knee for the team's visit.
Both Peduto and Fitzgerald were with the Penguins for the visit celebrating their 2016 Stanley Cup championship last October, when Barack Obama was in the Oval Office.
|Allegri waits on Chiellini update after Juve´s SPAL stalemate|
|Stenson leads by one with DeChambeau and McIlroy lurking|
|Racing put pressure on leaders Montpellier as Toulon are toppled|
|Klopp eases concerns over Can´s back complaint|
|Six Nations defeats make no difference to England mindset – Hartley|
|Matic was an island of personality - Mourinho questions United mentality|
|Del Potro demolishes Raonic to set up Federer final|
|He´s getting quicker on the Zimmer frame – Schmidt jokes about Best future|
|SPAL 0 Juventus 0: Scudetto charge halted by Serie A strugglers|
|Manchester United 2 Brighton and Hove Albion 0: Lukaku & Matic book semi-final spot|
|Fresh rib fracture for Cavendish but ´no serious injury´ after crash|
|Unbeaten Federer fights back to reach Indian Wells final|
|Klopp: Salah could be among world´s best, but don´t compare him to Messi|
|Woods hopes to still be within reach at Arnold Palmer Invitational|
|Championship Review: Wolves on the charge as Monk lifts Birmingham´s spirits|
|Twickenham boos will ´put me to sleep at night´, Jones claims|
|Salah threatening Rush´s record for goals in single Liverpool season|
|Hodgson hopes Zaha avoided injury|
|Snow causes Wakefield-Widnes abandonment|
|Liverpool 5 Watford 0: Inspirational Salah nets four as Reds bounce back|
|Lambert rues Everton´s ´offside´ opener in costly Stoke City defeat|
|Scotland´s late rally leaves Townsend feeling positive for the future|
|Wales hold off France to claim second behind Ireland|
|Man Utd bench Pogba & Sanchez for FA Cup quarter-final|
|Pardew: Evans loss key to Bournemouth defeat|
|Zarco breaks track record to claim Qatar pole after Rossi crashes in practice|
|Ireland had to make every moment count against England – Best|
|Salah breaks Torres´ impressive Liverpool record|
|We are not heroes one day and villains the next – Mourinho continues defence of Sevilla exit|
|Lions bounce back against Sunwolves, Stormers end miserable streak|
|Jones: England losing streak only natural|
|They have many players who´d get in my team – The Sevilla stars Mourinho should buy|
|Mario Gomez will not beg for World Cup place|
|England´s form continues to run cold in Twickenham snow|
|Nibali holds on in Milan-San Remo as Cavendish crashes again|
|Bournemouth 2 West Brom 1: Stanislas piles misery on Pardew|
|Buffon to play on for Italy as Di Biagio calls up uncapped duo|
|Huddersfield Town 0 Crystal Palace 2: Tomkins and Milivojevic secure priceless win|
|Stockdale makes history as ruthless Ireland win Grand Slam|
|Stoke City 1 Everton 2: Tosun at the double after Adam´s early dismissal|
|Simeone insists Atletico can survive injury crisis|
|Ireland´s Stockdale breaks Six Nations single campaign try record against England|
|Leipzig out to halt Bayern celebrations at Red Bull Arena|
|NFL Draft 2018: Jets acquire number three overall pick from Colts|
|Board accepts responsibility for West Ham woes, Brady claims|
|In-form Eriksen hopes he hasn´t hit Tottenham ceiling|
|Roma boss Di Francesco happy with Messi, Barca challenge|
|Bangladesh warned over ´unacceptable´ Colombo behaviour|
|The directors know where to find me - Gattuso awaits Milan talks|
|Laidlaw breaks Italian hearts in Rome|
|UMBC´s March Madness win earns everyone in USA free pizza|
|Zidane focused on Real Madrid players, not Neymar|
|Mourinho´s United rant recalls unhappy Madrid demise|
|Swansea City 0 Tottenham 3: Eriksen leads Kane-less Spurs into FA Cup semis|
|Valverde not worried about Barcelona legacy|
|Markelle Fultz´s return remains a mystery to Brett Brown|
|Bale is happy at Real Madrid, says Zidane|
|Spalletti seeks consistency as Inter prepare for final push|
|Absence of ´best in the world´ Busquets makes Rakitic key for Barca|
|I was out of the game - Halep offers no excuses for Osaka shock|
|Tigers spoil Slater´s 300th NRL game, wins for Penrith and Warriors|
|A-League Review: Sydney stumble again as Jets close gap|
|Highlanders claim derby win over Crusaders, Brumbies beat Sharks|
|Dreadshock! Neymar reveals new hairdo|
|Shakib and Nurul sanctioned for unruly Colombo conduct|
|Villarreal defender Semedo denied bail on attempted murder charge|
|Boots up! - Pietersen career seemingly over|
|Messi: I´m a less selfish player|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Williams|
|F1 2018 Pre-Season Report: Renault|