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Former Bear Tim Wrightman: White House Visit Isn’t About Politics

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CHICAGO (CBS) — A member of the 1985 Chicago Bears team is taking former teammate Dan Hampton to task for declining an invitation the White House with the rest of the team.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, the Bears will be honored by President Barack Obama at the White House on Saturday. The team missed the traditional celebration in 1986 because their 46-10 victory over New England came two days before the Space Challenger exploded, killing the entire crew.

But defensive and four-time Pro Bowler tackle Dan Hampton said late last month that he would not be joining the team.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

“It’s my own personal choice,” Hampton told The Mully and Hanley Show on The Score 670 last month. “I don’t choose to go. No family, no kids (are allowed at the White House.) Honey’s going to the White House, and you tell your kids and your wife, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. You’re not invited.’ Secondly, I’m not a fan of the guy in the White House, and third, it was 25 years ago. Let it go.”

This prompted tight end Tim Wrightman to write an essay on Facebook taking Hampton to task.

In the essay, Wright says of everyone on the team coming to the White House Saturday, “I would probably say I am the most conservative,” living in the deep-red state of Idaho, and making a living with guns by operating a hunting ranch.

Wrightman says he is not a fan of Obama’s policies either, but, “this is a celebration for the achievement of a great football team, not a political rally.”

While Wrightman does not mention Hampton by name, he repeats Hampton’s quotes one by one.

Regarding the former players’ wives not being invited, Wrightman wrote, “Would you take the wife you had when we won or the newest one?” Regarding the comment, “It was 25 years ago, let it go,” he wrote, “Will you stop doing car commercials that say you were a Super Bowl champ? And so what if it was 25 years ago? If winning a Super Bowl is so easy, how come the Bears haven’t won since?”

Wrightman adds that visiting the White House is a great opportunity that is not to be passed up just because one doesn’t like the president or his policies.

“I’m not so arrogant as to think that by going to the White House, people are going to believe I endorse the president. Nor do I believe my invitation will cause people to vote for President Obama just because I visited the White House,” he wrote.

On WBBM Newsradio Friday morning, Bears analyst and former offensive guard Tom Thayer expressed excitement about the trip to the White House.

“It’s kind of like being a little kid going on a field trip,” Thayer said. “It’s not the Museum of Science and Industry, but it’s the White House. So I think it’s really exciting for all of us, and as much excitement as there is in going to see the White House, it’s still getting this group of people together, because it’s not only the team. It’s a lot of people from the front office that were with the Bears at that time that were an important part of the whole mixture.”

About 100 representatives of the 1985-86 Bears will attend, including about 30 players, and several others from the front office staff, Thayer said.

Jay Hilgenberg, Keith Van Horne, Matt Suhey, Jim Covert and “Punky QB” Jim McMahon are among those attending, Thayer said.

As to the choice to decline the invitation, Thayer said that was each player’s own business.

“It’s up to them,” he said. “You know, everybody makes their own decision at this time in life. If it had happened immediately following the game and then that would have been their point of view, maybe things would have been differently, but 25 years removed after the Super Bowl, there’s a lot of difference of opinions.”

Former Chicago Bear Dan Hampton is not going to the White House with the rest of his team to celebrate the ’85 Super Bowl victory.