It has long been a tradition that the team who wins the Super Bowl visits the White House. However, despite this tradition, several players on the Philadelphia Eagles have hinted that they plan to skip the event, according to CNN.
Here are the Eagles players who have said they won't be attending the White House in the aftermath of their Super Bowl win.
Malcolm Jenkins. Jenkins is an Eagles safety who raised his fist during the National Anthem this most recent season. He also leads a Player's Coalition, a group of NFL players negotiating with the league to address the concerns of those who protest. On Monday, according to CNN, he remarked that he "does not anticipate attending" the White House.
Torrey Smith. CNN writes that before the Eagles won the Super Bowl, this wide receiver had already made clear that he won't be visiting the White House. First and foremost, the reason why he won't be attending the White House is his opposition to President Trump. Smith, who also raised his first during the national anthem, supports those who have decided to protest during the national anthem. The player claims that it isn't disrespectful to the flag or country to protest during the national them. Rather, he says, it is a means to express solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
Chris Long. Chris Long also skipped the White House last year after his previous team won the Super Bowl. Long, who previously played for the New England Patriots, claimed that he doesn't plan on attending the White House this year either. When asked if he will be attending, he outright replied that "No, I'm not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?"
CNN also claims that LeGarrette Blount is a player that fans should keep an eye on. Although he hasn't directly claimed that he isn't going to attend, he has implied heavily in the past that, if provided the opportunity, he might turn it down. According to CNN, this Eagles running back, who also played for the Patriots last season, skipped last year's White House visit. When asked why he claimed that he "didn't feel welcome in that house."
Fox News writes that President Trump clashed with the NFL throughout his first year as the president, criticizing players who kneel during the national anthem as a means of protesting racial injustice.
On the one hand, many of the players are outraged by President Trump's policy positions and rhetoric, which they claim is counter-productive to the cause of racial equality and healing racial divisions in the country. On the other hand, President Trump is outraged that players would protest during the national anthem of all times, which he interprets as disrespectful to himself, the flag, and the country.
Sports Illustrated writes that news of several players boycotting the White House isn't much of a surprise considering the rocky relationship between Trump and the NFL. In fact, both Jenkins and Smith were part of a group of four that sent a memo to NFL commissioner Roger Goodwell in 2017 requesting that the league take an active approach to support social activism of players.
Furthermore, Long personally donated his entire salary this season to various educational causes, including funding a scholarship in his hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. He has also been very critical of Trump's presidency, which he claims is harmful to the cause of stopping racial injustice and police brutality.
In recent news, a professional athlete asks for prayers after losing his dad and three more family members in a house fire.