In a shocking, last-minute decision on Monday evening, the Philadelphia Eagles had their invitation to the White House rescinded by President Donald Trump. The Eagles were supposed to go to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to be honored for their Super Bowl LII victory.
The White House released a statement on behalf of the President on why the invite was rescinded. The statement mentioned the national anthem and how the Eagles disagree with President Trump’s stance on standing for it.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. 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 statement read.
Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith responded on Twitter to the statement saying it had “so many lies.”
Smith, then followed it up with some facts about the statement in the same tweet.
“Not many people were going to go,” the former Eagles wideout tweeted. “No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti-military.”
This is not the first time a major pro sports championship team, who “disagreed” with President Trump had their invite rescinded.
Last September, Trump uninvited the Golden State Warriors from the White House, after superstar guard Steph Curry and his teammates explained why they would not want to visit to celebrate their 2017 championship.
“That we don’t stand for basically what our President has – the things that he’s said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right times, that we won’t stand for it,” Curry said per USA TODAY.
Therefore, the Warriors went to the National African-American Museum of History and Culture in Washington, D.C. in February and participated in local community outreach.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was one of the four Eagles players that said he was not going to attend the celebration, shared similar sentiments spoken by Curry.
“For me, there’s a lot going on with that administration, and I don’t think it’s the time to really have any productive or constructive conversations about policy,” Jenkins said via The Delaware News-Journal. “I definitely want to avoid being used as a kind of a pawn. And the way things have gone over the past few months, I don’t think the time is right for that.”
Leading up to the planned visit, there was always a question of how many Eagles players were actually going to show up to the celebration. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, a large group of players, including most if not all black players had decided not to attend the celebration.
President Trump also said in the statement, that the Eagles were going to “send a small delegation to the White House”, but the 1,000 fans in attendance deserved better.
As the week continues, it shall be interesting to see what the fallout is not only from the White House but from the sports world too.
Speaking of the sports world, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James and Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry were asked about their thoughts on President Trump rescinding the Eagles’ invite. Both players agreed that neither of their teams would visit the White House with Trump in office.
“I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants an invite anyway. It won’t be Cleveland or Golden State going,” James said on Tuesday (h/t ESPN).
Curry echoed the same thoughts and reflected back on what he said last September.
“I decided to speak out on me not wanting to go to the White House last year. And every team that has won a championship since then has gone through that,” he said.
“So many people want to chime in. … How, I guess, social media is used today, the conversation can get out of control with so many different voices. I know a guy from the Eagles, wide receiver who played on the Super Bowl-winning team last year, and he broke it down pretty verbatim of how his process went with his discussions with his teammates and how he wanted to keep the focus on what the conversation should be and not the anthem and not Trump’s policies and how he’s been overshadowing the NFL and all that type of stuff.”
Lastly, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, who has been critical of Trump, also spoke about the Eagles’ being disinvited. In his response, however, he gave major props to Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long for their efforts.
“The irony is that the Eagles have been nothing but fantastic citizens in their own community. They’ve done so much good. I’ve read a lot about their team. Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long — these guys are studs. They’re amazing.”