The president has taken a hard line on the issue of NFL players protesting during the national anthem. He has repeatedly spoken out on the issue and condemned the players who choose to kneel during the song. On Monday, he stuck to that stance, disinviting the Eagles to the White House.
The team was expected to make the traditional White House visit on Tuesday in honor of their 41-33 victory in Super Bowl LII on February 4.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," read a statement by the president, published by CNN. "They disagree with their President because he insists that they 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 Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better."
In place of the meeting, the president will reportedly host "a different type of ceremony" with the U.S. Military. The Associated Press reports that the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus "will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem."
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith took to Twitter to voice his outrage, claiming that the president was not being honest about the meeting.
So many lies smh— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
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 pic.twitter.com/89GUNhJ4eE
"So many lies smh," Smith wrote. "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."
The discussion brought back Smith's initial statement on the White House visit from shortly after the Super Bowl.
Philadelphia Eagles wise receiver Torrey Smith said in February that most of his teammates wouldn’t go to the White House. Here was his reason. Sounds about right. pic.twitter.com/12vyVBn1LB— Dave Zirin (@EdgeofSports) June 5, 2018
"For me, it's not just about politics," he wrote 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 towards many minority groups... This individual also called my peers and my friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn't want to go to that party. Why is it any different when the person has title of President of the United States?"