“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come back to the White Home with their full crew to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump stated in a press release. “They disagree with their President as a result of he insists that they proudly stand for the Nationwide Anthem, hand on coronary heart, in honor of the nice women and men of our army and the individuals of our nation. The Eagles needed to ship a smaller delegation, however the 1,000 followers planning to attend the occasion deserve higher.”
It is an unprecedented transfer by Trump. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors declined an invite from the President to go to the White Home after successful the 2017 championship, however presidents sometimes honor their invites to championship groups. Gamers even have refused these invites up to now — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to go to the White Home in 2012 over disagreements with President Barack Obama’s insurance policies.
The President sometimes invitations the champions of main skilled and school sports activities to the White Home for a go to as part of their victory celebrations.
The motion was initially began by Colin Kaepernick, who was previously with the San Francisco 49ers. He drew nationwide consideration for refusing to face throughout “The Star-Spangled Banner” previous to kickoff.
The brand new NFL coverage provides gamers the choice of remaining within the locker room through the taking part in of the anthem if they don’t want to comply.
Trump later tweeted, “The Philadelphia Eagles Soccer Crew was invited to the White Home. Sadly, solely a small variety of gamers determined to come back, and we canceled the occasion. Staying within the Locker Room for the taking part in of our Nationwide Anthem is as disrespectful to our nation as kneeling. Sorry!” The Eagles haven’t stayed within the locker room as a method of protesting the anthem.
Gamers on the Eagles are a few of the most outspoken social justice activists within the NFL, and a number of gamers took half within the protests through the anthem during the last two seasons. Many gamers from the crew weren’t planning on attending the ceremony as a protest of Trump, his insurance policies and his outspoken criticism of gamers who selected to kneel through the anthem.
The Eagles had been initially invited to the White Home after their win in February’s Tremendous Bowl over the New England Patriots. It was the primary Tremendous Bowl championship in franchise historical past.
In response to Trump’s announcement, former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith, who was a member of the championship crew and was traded through the low season, referred to as the transfer “a cowardly act.”
“So many lies smh Listed below are some information 1. Not many individuals had been going to go 2. Nobody refused to go just because Trump ‘insists’ people stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to unfold the false narrative that gamers are anti army,” he stated in a single tweet.
Smith continued: “There are lots of people on the crew which have loads of completely different views. The women and men that needed to go ought to’ve been capable of go. It is a cowardly act to cancel the celebration as a result of the vast majority of the individuals do not wish to see you. To make it in regards to the anthem is silly.”
One participant who spoke to CNN stated the crew had a number of conferences to debate the invitation to the White Home. Not many gamers needed to go, the participant stated.
“The quantity was low,” he stated.
However the concern Trump delivered to the fore — gamers kneeling through the Nationwide Anthem — was not one of many crew’s chief considerations. The participant stated the difficulty was by no means talked about within the conferences.
A separate NFL supply stated not one of the gamers on the Eagles crew that gained the Tremendous Bowl took a knee through the anthem through the common season — one participant took a knee within the preseason however was lower earlier than the common season started. Security Malcolm Jenkins raised his fist through the anthem to protest racial injustice earlier than some video games, however he stopped when the NFL pledged to make a $100 million donation to numerous charities in November.
Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, stated he is skipping the White Home occasion, and as a substitute invited the crew to take a tour of the US Capitol.
“I am happy with what the @Eagles achieved this 12 months. I am skipping this political stunt on the White Home and simply invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How a couple of tour of the Capitol?” Casey wrote on Twitter.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney launched a press release, the place he stated Trump’s resolution “proves that our President shouldn’t be a real patriot.”
“The Eagles name the birthplace of our democracy house, so it is no shock that this crew embodies every little thing that makes our nation and our metropolis nice. Their athletic accomplishments on the sector led to an historic victory this 12 months,” Kenney stated.
“Disinviting them from the White Home solely proves that our President shouldn’t be a real patriot, however a fragile egomaniac obsessive about crowd measurement and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a celebration to which nobody desires to attend,” he later stated within the assertion.
“Metropolis Corridor is at all times open for a celebration,” he added.
Trump stated in Monday’s assertion that the followers are nonetheless welcome to come back and partake in a “completely different type of ceremony.”
“One that can honor our nice nation, pay tribute to the heroes who battle to guard it, and loudly and proudly play the Nationwide Anthem,” he stated.
White Home Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Brief instructed CNN’s Erin Burnett he was not sure who canceled on whom.
“It is unlucky when politics will get in the midst of this,” Brief stated.
Trump stated he will probably be on the ceremony alongside the US Marine Band and the US Military Refrain at Three p.m. Tuesday to “rejoice America.”
CNN’s Jill Martin and Jake Tapper contributed to this report.