University of Connecticut Huskies basketball center Stefanie Dolson, top left, give the 'bunny ears' to President Barack Obama as he poses for photo with the team during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, July 31, 2013, where the president honored their 2013 NCAA Women�s Basketball Championship win. Also seen, from top left, Breanna Stewart, Kiah Stokes, bottom left, Caroline Doty, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and Kelly Faris. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Here we go. Geno Auriemma and the 2012-13 Huskies were at the White House Wednesday being honored by President Barack Obama for their national championship season, the eighth in Auriemma's quarter-century in Storrs. Then Stefanie Dolson and Kiah Stokes did the unthinkable -- making rabbit ears behind the president in a group photo.
Scandalous, we know.
Except it's not a scandal at all. Because, you know, Obama consented to it before the photo was taken. The chronology, apparently, is important because words like "disrespectful" and "shameful" are being used to describe something usually reserved for six-year-old's birthday parties and family reunions but innocuous nonetheless.
“OK, when you look at it in the past tense you say you probably shouldn’t do that,” former player Kelly Faris said Thursday night, according to the Hartford Courant. “But honestly, everyone was just kind of joking about it. It was no big deal to anyone. The President was having fun with it and eventually said, ‘OK then, just do it.’"
Which Dolson and Stokes no doubt took to mean, "OK then, just do it." And they did.
"The President is someone who will just walk into a room, especially with a group of athletes, and just keep things lighthearted.”
Dolson, meanwhile, told SNY.com's Carl Adamec that being disrespectful wasn't the plan when she flashed the bunny ears.
“President Obama’s a light-hearted guy,” she said. “He was making jokes, cracking jokes at Coach, even during his speech he was joking around. When we posed for the picture he turned around and kind of said, ‘Don’t go doing those bunny ears as a joke.’ Me, Kiah, and Stewie (Breanna Stewart) were like, ‘Should we do it?’ We took the nice pictures and then as a joke we put our fingers behind his ears. I thought it was funny. Overall, I thought it was a good time.
“Obviously there are people that thought it was disrespectful," Dolson continued. "I meant no disrespect towards the president. I hope he knows that and I hope everyone else knows that. It was a joke. When people see the video and know why I did it, they’ll understand that. And people that know me, that know what kind of person I am, know I would never disrespect any person like that.”
Adamec reports that, according to the video of the ceremony, Obama first said Alright, no rabbit ears now," and then several seconds -- and photos later -- he then said "OK, go ahead."
And if Dolson was in the same situation again would the bunny ears come out?
“If he said the same thing? Yes,” Dolson said. “I am who I am and I’m not going to change. It made the moment lighter and more fun.”
Works for us. And, apparently, the President of the United States.