President Trump calls off Philadelphia Eagles' White House visit over anthem dispute

President Trump calls off Philadelphia Eagles' White House visit over anthem dispute

"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow", a statement by the President read.

Over the course of the last several days, many Eagles players have been backing out of attending the presidential Super Bowl celebration because of Trump's controversial comments about the National Football League and players who have staged protests during the anthem.

Trump's decision, which follows a similar stiff arm given to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors a year ago, comes amid a long-running cultural battle between the president and players who choose to kneel during the national anthem as a means of drawing attention to inequities in the criminal justice system.

ESPN's Sal Paolantonio reported that the team learned about the cancellation via the president's statement. Trump said about 1,000 Eagles fans planned to attend the event.

The president's tweets come hours after he disinvited the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles from the White House.

Although previous sports teams have declined invitations to visit the White House, the president's rescinding of the invitation is unprecedented.

"So many lies", Smith, 29, responded on Twitter, claiming Trump had misrepresented players' reasons for not wanting to attend.

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Under a policy unveiled last month by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and welcomed by Trump, teams will be fined if players on the field fail to stand during "The Star-Spangled Banner". Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins raised his right fist during the anthem before games most of the past two years and has been a vocal opponent of Trump's.

Jenkins told reporters in May that he would travel to Washington with his teammates but not visit the White House.

"Some guys have dreamed about winning a championship and taking that trip to the White House and we're not going to deny that to anybody".

But, Trump says the "smaller delegation" of players who accepted the invite are no longer coming because "the fans deserve better".

Torrey Smith, a wide receiver who played for the Eagles during the 2017 season, attacked the president's decision and said he "continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military".

The NFL recently fell in line with Trump's view, banning kneeling on the field during the anthem and saying if players wanted to protest they would have to do it in the changing rooms. "To make it about the anthem is foolish".

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