Trump calls off Philadelphia Eagles White House visit - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Trump calls off Philadelphia Eagles White House visit

The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in February. (Source: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) The Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in February. (Source: AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

(RNN) - President Donald Trump called off a White House visit from the Philadelphia Eagles football team on Monday.

The Super Bowl winning Eagles were set to visit on Tuesday, but in a statement Trump said he canceled the visit because the whole team did not intend to attend.

"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," the statement said. "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."

Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith called Trump's decision "cowardly."

The anthem became a politically charged issue last year, when a number of players kneeled during its playing before games in protest of the conditions black people face in the U.S.

Trump was a vocal critic of the protests, tweeting about them on a number of occasions.

A study by the website Sports Pundit which tracked the kneeling protests league-wide last season found that no individual Philadelphia players actually participated, however. Some did protest during the preseason.

NFL owners last month approved a new anthem policy which "requires players and league personnel on the sideline to stand but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they don't want to stand" according to the league's website.

An Eagles player, Chris Long, criticized the policy, tweeting a statement that said "this is not patriotism."

Malcolm Jenkins, another prominent Eagle, said he would not let the new policy "silence me or stop me from fighting."

Trump's statement said there would be a "different kind of ceremony" in place of the traditional team visit. 

His statement said it would be "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."

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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