The Philadelphia Eagles had planned to send a small contingency of players and staff to the White House to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl win. On Monday night, the president un-invited the Eagles, citing protests during the national anthem as a reason. In the wake of decision players found themselves needing to address fake images and misleading news about their part in protests.
The White House will hold a replacement ceremony for fans it says planned to travel to Washington D.C. to see the Eagles, which will “celebrate America,” according to the press release with the United States Marine Band and United States Army Chorus performing the national anthem.
Eagles players fire back at Fox News
While reporting the story, Fox News chose to broadcast a video of Eagles players kneeling, portraying it as them protesting during the anthem, when in reality they were praying pregame. Players took exception.
This can’t be serious.... Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this... https://t.co/kYeyH2zXdK— Zach Ertz (@ZERTZ_86) June 5, 2018
Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this yr. Keep carrying his water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men. Aren’t many of your viewers.. nevermind https://t.co/QdlOvL0btq— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 5, 2018
You’re complicit in PLAYING America. This is just another day at the office for you, though. Most players (and there were many players, many players...) that wanted to opt out had decided long b4 the anthem rule came down. It wasn’t discussed once in our meetings about the visit.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) June 5, 2018
Eagles players did not protest or kneel during the national anthem at all during the 2017 season. Some players elected to demonstrate before games, but not during the anthem itself — despite the White House’s claim that players planned to skip the ceremony over the president’s insistence they stand during the anthem.
Players were active throughout the season in raising awareness to social justice issues and supporting the movement which Colin Kaepernick began. Chris Long donated his salary to help education equality, while Malcolm Jenkins has worked alongside the NFL to raise money for social causes.
Philly politicians back Eagles
The reaction by the White House comes following the NFL’s release of a new national anthem policy, which will require all players on the field during the national anthem to stand while it is played. Those who don’t wish to participate may remain in the locker room.
In response to the announcement, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney issued a statement, adding that city hall was “always open for a celebration.”
I’m proud of the Eagles on & off the field. Our players represent the diversity of our nation—a nation where we're free to express our opinions. Disinviting them only proves the President is not a true patriot.— Jim Kenney (@PhillyMayor) June 5, 2018
City Hall is always open for a celebration. https://t.co/kU7LZkBNin
Jane Slusser, chief of staff to the Philadelphia mayor, took a shot.
Reports from Philadelphia indicate it would have been a very small party, had the Eagles celebration moved forward.
Five or fewer Eagles players had intended to attend the White House Super Bowl ceremony, a league source tells me.— Don Van Natta Jr. (@DVNJr) June 5, 2018
The Eagles will be the first team since 1980 to not have any representation at a White House celebration. The tradition began with President Jimmy Carter and the Pittsburgh Steelers following Super Bowl XIV and remained constant until now, even when players skipped the event for various reasons.
The NFL tried to appease the White House by issuing its new national anthem policy, but it wasn’t enough for President Donald Trump. Now Eagles players, who did not protest during the anthem are being put in the cross hairs by dishonest outlets trying to make them out to be the villains.
Malcolm Jenkins posted the following after the invitation was removed.
Update: Fox News apologized for showing the footage of players praying.
“During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer. To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout the regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.”