Trump cancels White House invitation for Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles beat the New England Patriots at the Super Bowl, winning their first championship in franchise history. It's customary for the winning team to visit the White House, but on Monday President Trump rescinded his invite. In a statement, he said he cancelled their visit because of the National Anthem dispute:
"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."
Colin Kaepernick, formerly a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, started the silent protest in 2016. He refused to stand for the The Star-Spangled Banner, choosing instead to silently protest by "taking a knee." He described his actions as a protest against police brutality and racial inequality.
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," said Colin, during a post-game interview in August 2016. "To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder." The movement spread like wildfire, with athletes in many sports following Kaepernick's lead.
However, this protest outraged some people, who think that kneeling during the National Anthem is disrespectful to the American flag and military veterans. That is not the player' intent. In fact, Kaepernick actually consulted with a U.S. military veteran before he started the movement. Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer confirmed that he convinced Kaepernick to "take a knee," rather than sit, in order to protest respectfully. But despite all this, the players faced a fierce backlash. At a rally, President Trump called them sons of bitches, and suggested they should be fired. On Fox News, he went even farther, saying they "shouldn't be in the country."
Last month, NFL owners passed a new policy regarding the National Anthem. If players are on the field, they must stand and "show respect," otherwise they will be fined. If players do not wish to comply with this, they are free to remain in the locker room while The Star-Spangled Banner is played. (So, it's okay to protest, as long you're neither seen nor heard, I guess?)
Since the 'kneeling' protest started, Eagles players have been outspoken social activists. After winning the Super Bowl, receiver Malcolm Jenkins, defensive Chris Long and safety Torrey Smith all announced that they would boycott the traditional White House visit. Now Donald Trump has cancelled their visit, because they are "unable to come... with their full team." On Twitter, Smith blasted the President's statement, claiming it had "so many lies."
"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"
"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."
It's a tradition to invite Super Bowl champions to the White House, so Trump's move is unprecedented. However, the invite has been rejected in the past. In 2017, the Golden State Warriors declined Trump's White House invite after winning the NBA championship. In 2012, the Boston Bruin's Tim Thomas declined the White House invite, because he disagreed with President Obama's policies.
The White House will still hosting a celebration for Philadelphia Eagles fans. It just won't include the Philadelphia Eagles. So, what's the point, you may ask? Trump says the ceremony "will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem."