Trump keeps party but disinvites Eagles from White House

Brian Tinsman
June 04, 2018 - 9:49 pm
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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

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On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump secured another White House first. With news that many members of the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles might be skipping the customary D.C. visit, he disinvited them. 

But he did not cancel the party. He explained the celebratory pivot in a press release.

"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," it reads. "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 statement read. "The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.

"These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony--one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem. I will be there at 3 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America."

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That's remarkable and serves to confirm whatever anyone already thought about the NFL, Philadelphia Eagles, National Anthem protests, or Trump's presidency.

Trump is widely believed to be the lurking specter in the NFL's recent decision to change the National Anthem policy. Players are now permitted to stay in the locker room, out of view of the fans and TV broadcast cameras during the National Anthem. If they do come onto the field of play for the Anthem, they are required to stand at attention.

Players and teams of offending players will be fined.

Anthem protests started with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the 2015-16 season, when he took a sat on the bench or took a knee during the Anthem. He told the media that he was kneeling in protest for police brutality against people of color in the U.S.

The protests have caused a cascade of reactionary decisons by the NFL, including a forced show of solidarity between players and owners in response to Trump saying he would "fire any [S.O.B.>" who didn't stand for the anthem if he was an NFL owner.

The Eagles have some of the more outspoken players in support of the protests (or right to protest), which makes them a compelling target for Trump's decision on this week's celebration at the White House.

It will be interesting to see how many fans show up for the new celebration of America, but one thing is certain: it will not be as many as stood in the streets in D.C. to watch the Caps play Game 4 on Monday night:

 

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