SportsPulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Jarrett Bell on why Trump’s decision to shut down the Philadelphia Eagles’ planned White House visit shouldn’t be a surprise and why it’s a bad look for the NFL owners.
USA TODAY Sports
The White House said Tuesday that the decision to cancel the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles’ visit was made in response to the team offering to send a few player representatives while also accusing the team of opting to “abandon” its fans.
The Eagles had been set to partake in a celebration Tuesday, but President Trump announced the cancellation Monday night.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a release that last Thursday the team informed the White House that 81 individuals from the organization would be made available. The next day, she said, the team attempted to reschedule the event, “citing the fact that many players would not be in attendance,” but Trump had pre-existing travel plans for the proposed dates.
“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.”
Talks continued over the weekend, Sanders said, before Trump eventually changed course and rescinded the invitation. The White House announced Monday night that Tuesday’s ceremony would instead feature the playing of the national anthem and what Trump described Tuesday morning as “other wonderful music celebrating our country.”
In a statement later on Tuesday, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins did not reference Trump or Sanders specifically but said, “the decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military.”
The Eagles opted to hold a practice Tuesday. The team is not scheduled to speak to the media until after Wednesday’s session.
“Our union is disappointed in the decision by the White House to disinvite players from the Philadelphia Eagles from being recognized and celebrated by all Americans for their accomplishment,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement. “This decision by the White House has led to the cancellation of several player-led community service events for young people in the Washington, DC area.”
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