The president of the United States has taken a close interest in football over the last year or so, but not out of an interest in the game. Rather, the president — who certainly has better things he should be doing — has made himself out to be a crusader against those who would choose to take a knee or raise a fist during pregame national anthems in solidarity with African Americans.
He kicked off his campaign by asserting that the “sons of bitches” who do so should be fired, and he’s carried on with it through his recent inaugural State of the Union address delivered to Congress.
Well, players with the Philadelphia Eagles, who won the Super Bowl for the first time in their team’s history on Sunday night, aren’t impressed with the president’s incendiary behavior, including more than just his dismissal of the plight of African Americans as a problem.
As happened last year after the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl, some Eagles players have announced that they intend to skip the ceremonial visit to the White House following their victory, citing the president’s oppressive policies.
Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith is among those to have so far expressed his disapproval of the president and intent to stay away from the White House, having actually done so last week.
As NJ.com reported Smith to have commented about the issue:
‘You see Donald Trump tweet something… We have those conversations in the locker room, just like everyone else does in the workplace. We’re very informed about what goes on, and we’re trying to continue to educate ourselves… I’m not saying we’re right about everything, but we’re willing to figure out what is right. We’re willing to work with people to find the best way to move forward, because there are problems and we’re not shy about speaking up about them.’
Trump has completely sidestepped the very legitimate problems raised by players choosing to sit out the national anthem in some form at games, insisting that the players’ actions are disrespectful to the flag and to current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces when it really has nothing to do with that.
Smith — whose father served in the Army — has been among those attempting to clarify the meaning behind the protests.
Smith’s teammates who have expressed their disinterest in attending the traditional White House ceremony for the Super Bowl champs include Eagles defensive end Chris Long and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, the latter of whom told CNN’s New Day on Monday:
‘Nah, I personally do not anticipate attending.’
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) February 4, 2018
Other Eagles players have been vocal critics of the president in the past, and at least a couple played with the Patriots last season and skipped the White House ceremony after their Super Bowl win.
It remains to be seen how the Eagles’ visit to the White House turns out.
The president tweeted a message in support of the Eagles on Sunday night following their victory, writing:
‘Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!’
Ironically, the president has a documented relationship with key individuals involved with the New England Patriots, who the Eagles won against on Sunday.
Featured Image via Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images