President Trump Scraps visit with NFL Super Bowl Winners
By Lauren Victoria Burke (NNPA Newswire Contributor)
In a series of events that the Trump White House has become known for, a visit by the 2018 NFL Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles was cancelled after they informed the White House that a small team delegation of about ten players was planning to attend.
Though President Trump continues to frame the conversation around NFL player protests against police brutality as a question of patriotism, the facts tell another story. During the 2017 NFL seasons, no Philadelphia Eagles players knelt during the playing of the national anthem.
The White House Press Office sent out a statement from President Trump that in part read that the Philadelphia Eagles “were unable to come to the White House with their full team” and that. “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.”
After Fox News, which many have said is nothing more that the unofficial propaganda arm of the Trump White House, used images of Eagles players kneeling in prayer rather than in protest for a piece on the cancelled event, heavy criticism rolled in.
“This can’t be serious,” wrote Eagles tight end Zach Ertz on Twitter. “Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this.”
Former Bush Administration official Richard Painter wrote on Twitter that Trump “is a racist” and “He thinks the NFL should be run like a plantation, where the “owners” tell the players when to stand, sit or kneel.”
Painter continued: “He needs to go. Now.”
Painter is also a candidate for the U.S. Senate in Minnesota.
In response to the cancelled White House event, former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted, “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.”
Rep. Ryan Costello, a Republican member of Congress from Pennsylvania, sided with the Eagles.
Costello tweeted: “Eagles my fave team. Super Bowl win so meaningful as Philly sports fan. POTUS handled poorly. This is a depressing commentary on our political culture, very deflating to me. Was really excited for today. As a fan who bleeds green. Not going to WH. Disappointed in all of this.”
In a statement about the cancelled visit, the White House said, “We will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”
President Trump tweeted: “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!”
Like so much else during President Trump’s short time in the White House, few things have gone on without at least some controversy. Much of that stems from the president’s penchant for self-absorption and divisiveness. That includes what is typically a routine visit to honor a championship sports team.