Dan Hampton declines WH invite

Updated: October 5, 2011, 12:48 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Former Chicago Bears great and Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Hampton will not accompany the Bears' Super Bowl XX championship team to the White House on Friday, and not all of his former teammates agree with that decision.

The team wasn't honored after winning the Super Bowl on Jan. 26, 1986, because the space shuttle Challenger exploded two days later, killing everyone on board.

"Family can't go, I don't want to go, that's it," Hampton texted to ESPNChicago.com's Melissa Isaacson on Monday.

But Hampton, appearing on WSCR 670 in Chicago recently, said there was more to his decision.

"It's my own personal choice," Hampton said. "I don't choose to go. No family, no kids. 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."

Hampton's friend and former teammate Steve McMichael did not agree with the decision.

"They said, 'Are you going?' Because there are a couple of my teammates that aren't going to make the trip," McMichael told ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson. "But let me tell you something, I don't care who the president is. I don't care what's going on in the government, if I'm against a war or what. If you are somebody that the White House wants to honor, and you're a citizen of this country, it behooves you to show up and look at it like an honor and a privilege.

"I told them I'm going to have bells on."

McMichael wondered whether he may have played a role in President Barack Obama -- who's from Chicago -- making the decision to honor the '85 Bears.

"This wouldn't happen unless it was a president from Chicago who's a Chicago Bears fan," McMichael said. "I brought this up to some of his aides last year. They were around town at some of the charity events I did, and I brought this up to them: 'You know it's going to be the 25th anniversary of our Super Bowl team. We didn't get to go because the space shuttle blew up. Mention it to him.'

"I wonder if that's what turned the wheel."