Some Philadelphia Eagles Players Will Skip the Customary Visit to the White House
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 5, 2018
The Philadelphia Eagles celebrated their Super Bowl victory last night, but some players will not be celebrating that win at the White House this year. While it’s customary that the champions will visit the White House, the protests against racial inequality and police violence throughout this NFL season are impossible to ignore with Trump’s clear antagonism towards the protest.
“I personally do not anticipate attending”, says Malcolm Jenkins, who leads the Players Coalition. The Coalition secured nearly $90 million to fight equality in a partnership with the NFL last year. When asked if he has a message for the President, Jenkins said:
“My message has been clear all year. I’m about, you know, creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana or this entire country. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economic and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced. That’s what myself and my peers have been pushing for the last two years and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”
While no one kneeled during the anthem, Jenkins, Torrey Smith, Rodney McLeod, and others held raised a fist in protest. Smith also said on Wednesday that he would not be attending if invited. Chris Long, who was with the Patriots last season, shared the same sentiment last week on the podcast Pardon My Take where he said, “Are you kidding me?”
Last year, “two dozen or more” players from the New England Patriots similarly didn’t visit the White House. While some were simply busy, others like LaGerrette Blout, Martellus Bennett, and Devin McCourty said it was in response to the President’s policies and language.
Trump did not give NBC an interview before the sporting event, but he did release a statement that shows his views have not changed. In it, he specifically referred to the protests within the NFL where players took a knee during the national anthem.
A Super Bowl message from President Trump includes the phrase “to proudly stand for the National Anthem” pic.twitter.com/L9XVkwgfcb
— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) February 4, 2018
In previous speeches and gathering, Trump continuously brought up the NFL protests and painted them as acts of disrespect towards the flag and anthem. In one rally, he said that the NFL should be able to fire those players and at another, he delighted in Kaepernick opting out of his contract.
Trump wishes NFL owners would tell anthem protesters “get that son of a bitch off the field right now” pic.twitter.com/gq4EH3lNoY
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) September 23, 2017
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