Digging deeper into a culture war that he’s repeatedly stoked, President Trump on Monday called off a visit by the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House Tuesday, citing the dispute over whether NFL players must stand during the playing of the national anthem. As in prior years, The Eagles were invited to visit the White House after winning the Super Bowl this year. It is also important to note that none of the players for the Philadelphia Eagles took a knew during the NFL season.
Trump said in a statement that some members of the Super Bowl championship team “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.”
He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation, but “the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
Instead, Trump said he would be hosting “a different type of ceremony,” featuring the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus, that “will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”
Several members of the Eagles have voiced staunch opposition.
“This is a fear of the diminished bottom line,” defensive end Chris Long said last month after the NFL announced its new policy. “It’s also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation. This is not patriotism. Don’t get it confused. These owners don’t love America more than the players demonstrating and taking real action to improve it.”
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins is among the outspoken players have also vowed to carry on the cause.
“I will not let it silence me or stop me from fighting,” he said recently. “This has never been about taking a knee, raising a fist or anyone’s patriotism, but doing what we can to effect real change for real people.”