President Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from their scheduled White House visit Tuesday to celebrate their Super Bowl win. Trump lashed out at the franchise, rescinding the team’s invitation, apparently because a number of Eagles players were planning on skipping the ceremony as a form of protest. The number of players that planned to forgo the Trump meeting isn’t totally clear, but a recent Fox News report tallied at least a handful of players who didn’t plan to attend, including safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long, wide receiver Torrey Smith, and defensive end Brandon Graham.
Philly.com reported, however, that the number of absentees may have been much larger and the team was still undecided on the terms of the visit.
It remains unclear how many players on the Eagles will go through the gates at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave… Quarterback Carson Wentz indicated that he would attend if most of his teammates planned on going. Others on the team still vacillated when they last met with reporters. The Eagles postponed their scheduled media availability on Monday afternoon, so the answer will come during Trump’s remarks. Team officials are leaving the decision up to the players.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has also been critical of the Trump in the past, reportedly calling his presidency “disastrous” during an NFL league meeting. Trump preempted the players’ decision by issuing a statement disinviting the players and refocusing the event on the national anthem, an issue he has used as a political wedge to curry favor with a portion of his base that resents the various forms of protest by predominantly black players during the national anthem.
Last year, six players from the Super Bowl winning New England Patriots did not attend the White House ceremony, including quarterback Tom Brady. Two of those Patriots players—Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount—played for the Eagles last season.
Here is a video representation of the day’s events: