Not even 24 hours after their historic Super Bowl victory, several players from the Philadelphia Eagles have already vowed to boycott their team’s visit to the White House.
Who is planning to boycott?
According to NJ.com, defensive end Chris Long, safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith have already vowed to boycott the White House visit.
The president traditionally hosts championship winning teams and individuals to a reception at the White House to honor the accomplishment. From the NFL to NBA to NASCAR and the Olympics, sports champions have a long history of visiting the White House.
But under President Donald Trump, players are voluntarily choosing to skip the reception. They attribute their decisions to Trump’s persona and the positions he’s taken on issues like the national anthem protest. Trump infamously denounced the protest last year.
What did the players say?
Jenkins explained on CNN’s “New Day” Monday why he plans to skip the White House visit.
“My message has been clear all year. I’m about, you know, creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana or this entire country,” he said.
“I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for … [economic] and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced,” he explained.
Philadelphia Eagles safety and Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins says, “I personally do not anticipate attending (a victory event at the White House)” https://t.co/y3iENKNvfu pic.twitter.com/kLZa2Wq2Vr
— New Day (@NewDay) February 5, 2018
Smith told NJ.com last week that he also wouldn’t attend the White House reception should his team win and attributed the decision to Trump’s position on the national anthem protests.
“They call it the anthem protest. We’re not protesting the anthem. It’s a protest during the anthem. I understand why people are mad, or may be offended when someone takes a knee,” Smith explained.
Meanwhile, when asked about the White House visit on a podcast last week, Long said: “No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?”