Trump Uninvited Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles After Many Refused to Come

Donald Trump canceled the Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit yesterday. The move came as most of the team’s players and coaches planned on boycotting the trip over the president’s demands that they stand for the national anthem at NFL games.

According to The New York Times, White House officials revealed that less than 10 members of the Super Bowl champion team were planning on attending the usually nonpolitical celebration set to be held on Tuesday afternoon. But when Trump realized the rest would not attend, he disinvited the entire team.

"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," Trump said in a statement on Monday.

"They 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."

RTX677EK U.S. President Donald Trump talks to the media after meeting with North Korea's envoy Kim Yong Chol, at the White House, on June 1. On Monday, the president uninvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a White House celebration after most of the team’s players and coaches planned to boycott the event. Reuters

Trump added that the fans who were planning on attending the celebration were still invited to come to a “different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the national anthem.”

“I will be there at 3 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America,” the president declared.

The Eagles did not directly respond to Trump's decision. However, they issued a statement shortly after the announcement saying they were "truly grateful for all the support we have received, and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season."

Although previous sports teams have declined invitations to visit the White House, the president's rescinding of the invitation is unprecedented. After their 2017 NBA championship win, the Golden State Warriors denied an offer from Trump to visit the White House. In 2012, Tim Thomas, the Boston Bruins goaltender, decided not to accept President Barack Obama’s offer due to disagreements over his political policies.

“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” Trump later tweeted on Monday evening.

The NFL announced last month that all its players will be required to stand during the National Anthem or remain in the locker room after some took the knee instead to protest racism and oppression of people of color. Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick ignited the movement after he refused to stand while “The Star-Spangled Banner” played before the game.

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said in 2016.

Trump has repeatedly voiced his distaste for the players’ protests and has even called for the team owners to let go of any members who refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Following the president’s announcement on Monday, Torrey Smith, the Eagles’ former receiver, slammed Trump on Twitter for spreading a “false narrative that players are anti military.”

“There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go,” Smith wrote. “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.”

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