The reigning NFL Champions, Philadelphia Eagles celebratory visit to the White House was cancelled on Monday. Although president Donald Trump attributes the cancellation was due to the franchise’s disagreement with him over the NFL national anthem protests, players from the team oppose his explanation behind the revoked invitation.
“[The Philadelphia Eagles] disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better,” Trump released in a statement.
Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith mentioned via Twitter that very few people from the franchise wanted to attend the celebration and that Trump is continuing to promote the notion that athletes who participate in national anthem protests are anti-military.
“There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views,” Smith stated. “It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”
Smith, who was traded to the Carolina Panthers in March, has mentioned that he did not want to visit the White House before.
On May 22, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced to the press that the franchise was visiting the White House on June 5. Owner Jeffrey Lurie then decided to send a group of 10 players to visit the White House. It was also decided that the entire franchise would visit Washington D.C. to sightsee, meet with lawmakers, or visit the White House.
Upon learning that only a small part of the Eagles organization would be in attendance for the celebration, Trump uninvited them.
Along with visiting the White House, Philadelphia planned on hosting several community outreach events and visits in Washington D.C. However, the events had to be cancelled due to Trump’s decision.
The NFLPA released a statement stating they are “disappointed” about Trump’s revoked invitation.
“NFL players love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place,” the union stated.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins also spoke out against the president’s claims on social media, profiling the franchises charity and volunteer work. In a Twitter post, Jenkins noted how he and teammates have conversed with public officials and law enforcement about race-related issues and police brutality. He also stated how defensive end Chris Long donated his entire 2017-18 season salary.
“This is what my colleagues and I have been facing for the past two years,” Jenkins said. “We’ve done all of this while still climbing to win the highest esteem in our profession.”
Jenkins also noted that the notion that NFL players are anti-American is a lie from Trump. Former Eagles wide receiver Cris Carter provided a solution for his previous team.
“President Obama should invite the Eagles to his house for a barbecue,” Carter mentioned in a Tweet.
Trump augmented the celebration to be a celebration of the American Flag that featured a performance of the United States Army Chorus and the United States Marine Band.
“Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event.” Trump stated in a Tweet. “Staying in the locker room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!”
Although the Eagles never kneeled during the play of the national Anthem during the 2017-18 season. Trump has followed the NFL protests that were started by former quarterback Colin Kaepernick in 2016.
United States Senator Bob Casey showed support of the Eagles via Twitter.
“I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year,” Casey stated. “I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?”