White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a lengthy statement Tuesday detailing the President’s decision to cancel his scheduled event with the Philadelphia Eagles; saying the NFL team had “abandoned their fans.”
Sanders published the White House’s official response just hours after the President ditched the ceremony over the athletes’ refusal to remain standing during the performance of the US national anthem, saying they would be unable to “hide in the locker room” during the event.
“On Thursday, May 31, the team notified the White House of 81 individuals, including players, coaches, management, and support personnel, who would attend the event. On Friday, the Secret Service cleared them for participation. These individuals, along with more than 1,000 Eagles fans, were scheduled to attend the event,” said Sanders.
“Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today. In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans,” she added.
EAGLES DENIED: Trump CANCELS NFL Champion Visit Over Player Protests
President Trump announced his decision Monday night to cancel the scheduled White House visit by the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles; saying their fans “deserve better” after many of the players planned to boycott the event.
According to team officials, multiple Eagles opted to avoid the ceremony over the President’s support for a full-fledged ban on professional athletes “taking a knee” during the performance of the national anthem.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a written statement. “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 Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” tweeted the President shortly after his decision.
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
FOUL PLAY: Here are the Super Bowl CHAMPS Who Plan to Boycott WHITE HOUSE Visit
Just hours after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots in this weekend’s Super Bowl matchup, questions began to swirl surrounding President Trump’s potential invitation to the White House and which Eagles would boycott the traditional event.
According to Fox News, at least three Super Bowl champions -Malcom Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith- have already announced their decision to stay home should the President invite the World Champions for a special visit to the nation’s capital.
“My message has been clear all year … I want to see changes in our criminal justice system,” said Jenkins. “I want to see us push for economical and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationship between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.”
“We’re very informed about what goes on, and we’re trying to continue to educate ourselves,” said Smith. “It’s pretty special to have a group like that of folks that aren’t just socially conscious, but folks who genuinely care about people and care about learning more.”
Last year, several New England Patriots refused to visit the White House in protest of the President’s inauguration. It remains unclear whether the Commander-in-Chief plans to extend the invitation following months of player protests and his public feud with the troubled league.