President Trump cancels Philadelphia Eagles visit to White House

WASHINGTON — The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit has been canceled due to the controversy over standing for the National Anthem at NFL games, President Donald Trump announced Monday.

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

It’s an unprecedented move by Trump. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors declined an invitation from the President to visit the White House after winning the 2017 championship, but presidents typically honor their invitations to championship teams. Players also have refused those invitations in the past — Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas declined to visit the White House in 2012 over disagreements with President Barack Obama’s policies.

The President typically invites the champions of major professional and college sports to the White House for a visit as a part of their victory celebrations.

Last month, the NFL announced it would require athletes to stand during the National Anthem in response to players who took a knee as protest to what some players see as the systemic oppression of people of color, including by police.

The movement was initially started by Colin Kaepernick, who was formerly with the San Francisco 49ers. He drew national attention for refusing to stand during “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to kickoff.

“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 told NFL Media in August 2016.

Trump has repeatedly criticized players for not standing for the anthem and has gone as far as to say team owners should fire players for doing so.

The new NFL policy gives players the option of remaining in the locker room during the playing of the anthem if they do not wish to comply.

Players on the Eagles are some of the most outspoken social justice activists in the NFL, and multiple players took part in the protests during the anthem over the last two seasons. Many players from the team were not planning on attending the ceremony as a protest of Trump, his policies and his outspoken criticism of players who chose to kneel during the anthem.

The Eagles were originally invited to the White House after their win in February’s Super Bowl over the New England Patriots. It was the first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

In response to Trump’s announcement, former Eagles receiver Torrey Smith, who was a member of the championship team and was traded during the off-season, called the move “a cowardly act.”

“So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump ‘insists’ folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military,” he said in one tweet.

Smith continued: “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. 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.”

Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said he’s skipping the White House event, and instead invited the team to take a tour of the US Capitol.

“I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. 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?” Casey wrote on Twitter.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney released a statement, where he said Trump’s decision “proves that our President is not a true patriot.”

“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,” Kenney said.

“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,” he later said in the statement.

“City Hall is always open for a celebration,” he added.

Trump said in Monday’s statement that the fans are still welcome to come and partake in a “different kind 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,” he said.

White House Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short told CNN’s Erin Burnett he was unsure who canceled on whom.

“It’s unfortunate when politics gets in the middle of this,” Short said.

Trump said he will be at the ceremony alongside the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus at 3 p.m. Tuesday to “celebrate America.”


  • patriot1964

    These athletes aren’t american heroes,these millionaires who play on a field have never given to this country other than entertainment – I never understood this dumb celebration of a bunch of overpaid millionaires – Good for Trump to shut this down in favor of American pride over american Entertainment!

  • Jeff Woehrle

    80 team members of the Eagles gave their RSVP to the White House right away. Hundreds of fans also did.
    The day before, 70 of those team members said they were not attending.
    That was a political stunt, and I’m glad that President Trump shut it down.

  • Redrockdoc (@rb1380)

    Good move President Trump !! They are a team representing the NFL , and if they can’t participate and be patriotic as a team, the hell with them !! This black equality bull crap has gone too far !!!

    • Lynne Fazio

      He’s NOT King – we fought a little war called the Revolutionary War – so we don’t have to listen to a KING! He doesn’t even state the REAL reason for kneeling for the flag. Get educated

  • Norman Vincent

    What are bowl winners invited to the White House any way? Does the best garbage collector in America get invited?

  • Bob Calvey

    Didn’t watch last year didn’t even miss it saved money at Christmas didn’t buy one or receive one nfl product

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    The No Fans League continues to dig their own grave. They’ll be a memory by the time President Trump is reelected in 2020 at this rate.

  • Jim Burnetti

    Wrong. The Eagles refused to go. #CadetBoneSpurs forgets that people who actually served fought and died so that Americans can continue to freely speak out against injustices like people being shot and killed for driving while black.

    • Jeff Woehrle

      As I correctly point out above, 80 team members gave an RSVP that they would be there. The day before the event, 70 of those team members said they would not attend. That made it a political stunt by the team.

      And President Trump shut it down.

  • AMJoy Fan

    Maybe he can take a break from obstructing justice to invite some of his Russian co-conspirators over to celebrate winning a rigged election instead!

    • Bob Calvey

      Amjoy wah wah wah i have Xtra crayons and coloring books how about hilliar rigging against Bernie o but that election we know for sure that was rigged

  • Mopar Driver (@RustyMopars)

    Apparently they still don’t respect their country and feel muscle headed jock means we value their opinion of promoting racism and their nutjob politics , Amazing Trump catered to Kardashian and the please release a major drug smuggler meeting . Scum with money is still scum ( ex. tiger woods) Bravo to Trump

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