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Eagles players announce they will not visit White House

Jacob Fuhrmeister, Staff Contributor

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It is tradition for the winning Super Bowl team to visit the White House to be honored by the president of the United States. This year, the Eagles defeated the Patriots to earn their very first franchise Super Bowl title and the White House visit. Despite this honor; however, three Eagles players have publicly announced that they will not be attending the Washington visit. Each of them has a different reason but there is a common theme: they do not want to be mistaken as supporting Trump.

Trump was angered by the National Anthem protests. He saw kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of disrespect towards veterans and the United States. Trump called for the National Football League to fire the players that participated in the protests. The players did not see it this way. In an interview with CNN, Malcolm Jenkins, the Eagles’ safety, stated that not visiting the White House was about supporting social justice issues.

“No, I personally do not anticipate attending that,” Jenkins said. “I’m about creating positive change in the communities that I come from. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economical and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationship between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.”

Chris Long, a defensive end, stated in a podcast that he too did not plan to attend. In an interview with Ellen Degeneres, he later said, “I don’t think I would feel like a real guy if I didn’t follow my heart and say, that’s just not for me,” and felt that attending, “didn’t jive with my personal ideologies and opinions.”

Other players were much more vocal about their refusal. Torrey Smith, a wide receiver, was very blunt about his political views and impression of President Trump. Smith had been a supporter of Colin Kaepernick, when Kaepernick first began the protest. Trump’s reaction to the protest angered Smith, who said, “I don’t think the president is a good person. I don’t want to go out of my way to go see someone who isn’t even welcoming the men in this locker room and our different cultures.”

These are not the first athletes to refuse a White House visit. Back in 2017, the Golden State Warriors also refused to visit the White House because they did not support the administration. It is possible, given public relations between the president and the people, that there may be more refusals in the future.

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Eagles players announce they will not visit White House