There has been a fairly consistent tradition over recent administrations that championship teams in various sports make a visit to the White House, meeting with the president and taking a tour of the White House itself. Past presidents, including former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and others have all met with championship teams from sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB, which generally turns out to be a fun media day with plenty of photo opportunities. However, President Donald Trump has taken a stark shift from his predecessors, as his divisive policies have led to clashes between sports players and teams, ultimately leading to an overall lacking presence of sports franchises visiting the White House following their wins.
One of the organizations that Donald Trump has come into deep conflict with is that of the NFL, particularly erupting with the widespread decision of football players to kneel during the national anthem in protest of faltering civil rights, inequality, and increasing violence against the African American community. Upon doing so, President Trump was quick to lash out at NFL players, insulting them and spreading a false narrative about what the protests were about.
Most recently, Trump made a decision to cancel the visit from 2018 NFL Super Bowl winners, the Philadelphia Eagles, after continued disputes regarding the national anthem kneeling protests. However, just as players from other sports before them remained vocal throughout the process, Eagles players have also started to make their opinions about the president’s decision very clear.
BREAKING: Trump calls off Philadelphia Eagles' White House visit Tuesday over anthem dispute.
— The Associated Press (@AP) June 4, 2018
On Monday, former Eagles wide receiver, Torrey Smith, blatantly called out the president on Twitter after a statement was released regarding the cancellation of the team’s visit to the White House.
Whereas Trump’s statement claimed that the cancellation was due to the team’s disagreement with their president, Smith pointed out the reality of the matter at hand. He not only claimed that the likely reason the president cancelled was due to the fact that not many of the players had made the decision to make an appearance at the White House, but further outlined the ongoing false rhetoric that the president continues to spread about the national anthem protests.
President Trump has used the protests as a way to paint NFL players in a negative light, claiming that they are disrespecting the country and the United States military in their actions. However, players and activists alike have made it apparent on the public stage that no such narrative is true, and rather they are simply protesting the degrading race relations that continue throughout the country.
Smith followed up with a tweet claiming that there were still members of the Eagles organization that would have liked to attend the event, and cancelling the team’s visit altogether was a “cowardly act”, simply because the majority of team members would not have showed up.
Trump has seemingly made it a habit to find enemies in various sports organizations, as was seen in the withdrawal of the invitation for the Golden State Warriors late last year, after altercations between star player Steph Curry and the president led to a similar reaction.
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