On February 4th, the Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl ever. To celebrate their championship, the team will get a variety of rewards, like the flashy Super Bowl ring, the Lombardi Trophy, and an invitation to the White House. But some Eagles players have announced that they will turn down President Donald Trump’s invitation to the White House.
The president has invited the Super Bowl champions to the White House since President Ronald Reagan made it a tradition. This year, at least three players — wide receiver Torrey Smith, defensive end Chris Long, and safety Malcolm Jenkins — have said that they won’t go to the White House.
Smith announced his refusal to visit the White House on January 31st.
During this past season, Smith and Jenkins raised their fists during the National Anthem to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Jenkins announced his decision not to go to the White House on CNN’s New Day on February 5th. He said that he had no message for the president but spoke about his desire to improve the relationship between law enforcement and black communities.
As for Long, this is the second year in a row he has declined to visit Trump. In 2017, as a member of the winning New England Patriots, he chose not to make an appearance at the White House. And on January 29th, on the podcast Pardon My Take, Long said he would refuse the invitation again this year.
For the past two years, NFL players including San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick have been kneeling during the National Anthem to bring attention to police brutality toward black Americans. Trump has said that players participating should be removed from the game, and Smith, Jenkins, and Long have expressed their disapproval of the president’s attitude toward the protests.
One of the most important rights we have as United States citizens is the ability to speak out against what we feel is wrong. We support NFL players’ rights to protest, and that includes Eagles players who choose not to visit the White House. Congratulations to the Eagles on their historic victory.