A visit to the White House has been a tradition for teams fresh off a Super Bowl victory. But several Philadelphia Eagles players, basking in the glow of their history-making Super Bowl win, say they plan to skip the event.
Many players in the NFL have been critical of President Trump’s comments on race relations and athletes taking a knee during the national anthem.
Here are the Eagles players who have said they will not be going to the White House:
Malcolm Jenkins: The Eagles safety, who raised his fist during the National Anthem this past season, leads the Player’s Coalition, a group of NFL players negotiating with the league to address the concerns of those who protest. On Monday, he told CNN, “Nah, I personally do not anticipate attending.”
Torrey Smith: Even before the Eagles won the Super Bowl, the wide receiver had already made it clear that he wouldn’t visit the White House, citing his opposition to Trump. “They call it the anthem protest. We’re not protesting the anthem,” said Smith, who also raised his fist on the field to express solidarity with the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
“It’s a protest during the anthem. I understand why people are mad, or may be offended when someone takes a knee. My father, when he dies, is going to be buried with an American flag draped around his casket, being that he served in the Army.”
Chris Long: Chris Long skipped the White House visit last year when he played for last year’s champs, the New England Patriots. He won’t be going this year either. “No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?” he said during an interview on Pardon My Take Podcast last Sunday.
Last year, Long released a video online explaining his decision: “When my son grows up — and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is — I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey dad, why’d you go when you knew the right thing was to not go.'”
Others to watch
LeGarrette Blount: The Eagles running back, who played for the Patriots last season, also skipped last year’s White House visit. “I just don’t feel welcome into that house. I’m just gonna leave it at that,” he said then.