The president’s move to cancel the Philadelphia Eagles’ White House visit will likely draw more criticisms after Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said the president was being “unpatriotic” for uninviting players.
Presidents have traditionally invited champions of major professional and college sports to the White House for visits as a part of teams’ victory celebrations. But President Trump quickly canceled the Eagles’ visit Monday afternoon after several of the players and coaches said they wouldn’t go to Washington, D.C. Kenney said the president’s move was hypocritical at best and just plain wrong at worst.
Trump’s tantrum over the Eagles’ boycott also included accusing its players of kneeling during the season as well as planning to stay in their locker room during the National Anthem, as was dictated in the NFL’s new policy. However, surprise: The president’s stories were false, several public figures said.
“If you are going to tweet…tweet facts…no one on the Eagles took a knee last season……….,” Torrey Smith, a former Eagles receiver who now is with the Carolina Panthers, tweeted Monday.
Trump has long been defensive about players kneeling during the anthem, calling it unpatriotic and pressuring the NFL to do something to stop it. The league buckled to the pressure with adopting its new anthem policy announced late last month that banned kneeling and authorized punishment for those who do it. Several public figures protested the policy, saying players should be able to kneel to protest police brutality like Colin Kaepernick did last year.
The Eagles wouldn’t be the first team to boycott the White House visit after winning a championship. NBA champion Golden State Warriors also declined an invitation to the White House after winning last year’s title.