June 6, 2018
At the last minute, President Donald Trump cancelled an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles to attend a June 5 ceremony at the White House that would have honored the team’s Super Bowl victory—and in the process, ramped up his war of words against the NFL players’ Black Lives Matter protest spewed, Mic reported yesterday.
Trump disinvited the team after just a handful of players said they were planning to attend. He then said the revoked invitation was due to the team’s refusal to follow his demand to “proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country.”
“The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!” Trump tweeted Monday night.
However, Mic reported, no players on the Eagles kneeled in protest of police violence during the 2017-2018 season, something players on the team pointed out.
Even Conservatives were outraged, the news outlet noted. “The attempt to make the Eagles event cancellation about the national anthem is just a complete act of deceitful propaganda and conservatives should have zero to do with it,” Jonah Goldberg, a writer for the conservative outlet National Review, tweeted. “If that was the issue, why schedule the event in the first place? Also: None of them kneeled. Shameful.”
Wide receiver Torrey Smith, who was part of the Eagles winning squad, tweeted back at the president over his statement. “So many lies smh Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military”
In fact, Mic reported, Smith outlined in February — after the team won the championship — why he didn’t plan to attend a future celebration at the White House. “For me, it’s not just about politics,” Smith said at the time. “If I told you that I was invited to a party by an individual I believe is sexist or has no respect for women or I told you that this individual has said offensive things toward minority groups…this individual also called my peers and friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has the title of president of the United States?”
Long and tight end Zach Ertz used social media to challenge Fox News for its use Tuesday morning of footage of Eagles players praying before games during a segment about protests during the national anthem.“This can’t be serious,” Ertz wrote on Twitter. “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….”
Fox later apologized for the misleading footage, the Mic story said.
However, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said that the fans “deserve better” in a formal statement from the president. The administration invited the fans to attend, anyway, noting that they would “… be part of a different type of ceremony—one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.”
Meanwhile, the NFL has introduced a new policy for its players this season that enables them to protest—or “take a knee”—by staying in the clubhouse instead of appearing on the field during the national anthem. Any player who kneels on the field risks incurring fines for his team.
The policy has the backing of 53% of U.S. adults, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll, while 32 % said they opposed the move, and 15 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion. The poll surveyed 2,201 U.S. adults from May 23-29 and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points.
In the May poll, 83% of Republicans and 47% of Independents said they opposed NFL players kneeling during the national anthem before the start of football games. Last September, 77% percent of Republicans and 43% of Independents said they opposed the kneeling.
Among Democrats, opposition to the protests stayed about the same compared to September: 25% in May and 22% in the earlier poll.
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