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June 05, 2018

Trump claims Eagles chose to 'abandon their fans' at White House

NFL Politics
Donald Trump Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

President Donald Trump.

President Donald Trump doubled down on his criticism of the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday with a statement from the White House press office accusing the team's players of abandoning its fans by opting out of attending the customary Washington, D.C., trip enjoyed by the Super Bowl champs.

The White House first announced on Monday evening it had canceled the Eagles' White House visit, outright rescinding the teams invitation to meet with Trump, due to the few players who planned to attend.

Trump said the Eagles' decision not to show up as a full team was another sign of the disrespect he believes is evident in the national anthem protests held by players across the NFL.

In a second statement released Tuesday, the White House press secretary's office accused the Eagles of scheduling the visit with a "lack of good faith," describing how the team had attempted to change plans as recently as last Friday.

The White House also said Trump was aware that a "great majority of players would not attend the event despite planning to be in D.C. today."

The Philadelphia Eagles organization released a brief statement late Monday night without even acknowledging the White House visit or Trump's accusations. 

It's not clear why Trump considered a celebration of the Eagles' Super Bowl championship so important that not just any team delegation would suffice for the purpose of a formality. Does the entire cast and crew of a movie get up on stage to accept an Oscar? 

The White House's statement notes that future dates suggested by the Eagles to reschedule the visit were in conflict with Trump's obligations as POTUS. Harping further on this issue after turning away the few players and coaches who genuinely wished to join him indicates this has taken on a petty importance far beneath the dignity of everyone involved. 

The United States Marine Band and United States Army Chorus still are slated to play the national anthem for about 1,000 Eagles fans at the White House at 3 p.m. Tuesday. 

Eagles fans in Philadelphia, for what it's worth, are organizing an evening celebration at City Hall.