February 05, 2018
Now that the Philadelphia Eagles are finally, finally Super Bowl champions, they can expect an invite to the White House, a tradition that honors the top NFL team each year.
With President Donald Trump in office, however, several Eagles players already have explicitly stated they will boycott the visit out of protest of the president and his policies.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins told CNN Monday he will be one player to skip the visit.
“No, I personally do not anticipate attending that,” Jenkins told "New Day."
When asked what message Jenkins had for the president, he said his message was not specifically for Trump.
“My message has been clear all year. I’m about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system," Jenkins said. "I want to see us push for economic and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities.”
Jenkins is not the only Eagles player to say he will skipping the White House. Wide receiver Torrey Smith said last week he would not attend if the opportunity arose.
“We read the news just like everyone else,” Smith said at a press conference. “You see Donald Trump tweet something … We have those conversations in the locker room, just like everyone else does in the workplace.”
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
Jenkins and Smith both raised their fists during the National Anthem last season and throughout most of this season in affinity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to raise awareness of police brutality.
“We’re not protesting the anthem,” Smith said. “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.”
Eagles defensive end Chris Long, who also was invited last year as a member of the New England Patriots’ winning Super Bowl team, also will once again skip the White House visit.
“No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?” Long said during a podcast interview in January.
Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount has also been noted as a player who will not be attending the White House visit. Like Long, Blount passed at the invitation when he was a member of the New England Patriots last year.
“I just don’t feel welcome into that house," Blount said of his decision in 2017. "I’m just gonna leave it at that."
New York Magazine noted about two dozen Patriots players did not attend the White House, though most did not cite publically that it was for political reasons.