|Photo Credit: USA Today|
If anyone is interested in other notable athletes that have not accepted a POTUS invitation to the WHite House, just take a look here. Also, former Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstien refused an invitation from POTUS as well, back in 2008.
To stay politically neutral, lets look at Alex Ovechkin, from the NHL Washington Capitals who refused to participate in the NHL All Star Game this year.
Without regard to politics, if put in a similar situation should a referee refuse such an invitation for an "official function?"
My answer is no, if representing yourself as a referee.
Now there is a thin line here as I am also a strong believer of the 1st Amendment to the COTUS, and the acts described above plainly fit into that category. However, if as a referee you are asked to an official function, such as an awards ceremony, you should go if at all possible.
This has nothing to do with the individual in their individual capacity, it has everything to do with you representing yourself as part of a larger team, that of US Soccer referees.
There is always time later to express your individual views, (look at Kicking Back as an example of this as I would have NEVER said most of the things when I was an active referee) but there is also a time to act as a professional and do what is best for the team, not just the individual.
I will say finally that, even if an individual chooses not to accept an invitation to an event, it should not be held against them as to refute ones deeply held personal beliefs, is not conducive to team coherence, which is critically important, especially when you are looking for that offside flag.