Players in the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles may want to protest over whatever their pet peeve is. They may even do it.
But not at the White House.
In a stunning decision announced only a day before the Super Bowl champions were to arrive, President Trump dropped a bombshell.
“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 Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better. These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of 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,” the president said in a prepared statement.
“I will be there at 3:00 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America.”
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney blasted Trump as a “fragile egomaniac,” releasing this statement:
“The Eagles call the birthplace of our democracy home, so it’s no surprise that this team embodies everything that makes our country and our city great. Their athletic accomplishments on the field led to an historic victory this year. Fans all across the country rallied behind them because we like to root for the underdog and we feel joy when we see the underdogs finally win. I’m equally proud of the Eagles’ activism off the field. These are players who stand up for the causes they believe in and who contribute in meaningful ways to their community. They represent the diversity of our nation — a nation in which we are free to express our opinions.
“Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend. City Hall is always open for a celebration.”
NBC reported it was after the Eagles won Super Bowl 52 that several players said they’d refuse the invitation.
Those included Malcolm Jenkins, Torrey Smith and Chris Long.
The report said the NFL team was going to let individual players decide if they wanted to go.
Coach Doug Pederson had planned to be there.
“It’s a great honor,” he said.
NBC said, “Eagles owner Jeff Lurie is considered one of the more liberal owners in the NFL. He gave money to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and reportedly called Trump’s presidency ‘disastrous’ in a closed-door meeting. When asked about the possibility of a White House visit back at the owners meetings in March, Lurie didn’t want to talk about it.”
NFL players over the last two seasons have kneeled during the anthem, or raised a fist, to protest issues such as police violence.
NFL owners pledged $90 million to fund “social justice” issues, but the players kept protesting. Then just recently, the owners decided the players in the future could be on the field and respect the national anthem, or stay in the locker until it’s over.
Trump earlier disinvited the Golden State Warriers when one of their players, Stephen Curry, said he didn’t want to go.