Philadelphia Eagles fans attend a "Celebration of America" event on the south lawn of the White House on June 5.

Philadelphia Eagles fans attend a "Celebration of America" event on the south lawn of the White House on June 5.

President Donald Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from visiting the White House this week.

In a statement, the White House said the president “insists that [players] proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart,” referencing the fact that several NFL players had been taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality. The president has often disparaged these players at political rallies, to generally rousing applause. However, none of the Eagles knelt during the anthem, making the team one of seven in the NFL to have not had any players take a knee.

The president’s action doesn’t change much for most of the Eagles. ESPN reports that “five or fewer Eagles players committed to attend” the ceremony with President Trump before the cancellation.

The Eagles released a statement that made no mention of the invitation or its retraction.

“It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship. Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season.”

In a similar situation last year, the president disinvited the Golden State Warriors from the White House after their NBA championship win. That prompted a response from Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James:

This year, James and the Warriors’ Steph Curry both said their teams will not visit the White House should they win the championship again.

No matter what the sport, what makes athletics such a political football in the current administration?

Guests

  • Tyler Tynes Staff writer, SB Nation

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