Several members of the Philadelphia Eagles are saying they won’t attend the traditional White House visit after their history-making Superbowl win because they are opposed to President Donald Trump. Trump openly brow-beat NFL players who took to their knees as the national anthem was played.
So it’s completely understandable that Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who also raised his fist as the anthem was played this past season, intends to give the visit a miss this time around, CNN reports.
“Nah, I personally do not anticipate attending.”
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
“My message has been clear all year. I’m about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want us to push for economic and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities.”
Defensive end Chris Long, who earlier turned down a photo opportunity with Trump, is also letting his feelings be known. Long, who also declined a visit last year, when he was playing for the Patriots, had this to say:
“No, I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?”
And Long is the type of person who does things like donating his entire year’s salary to charities. The first six paychecks were donated to scholarship funds in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s nearly impossible to imagine Trump or any of his kids doing anything like this.
Before the Super Bowl, Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith said in an interview at the Mall of America that he had no intentions of visiting the White House if his team won.
“We read the news just like anyone else. 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. It’s pretty special to have a group like that of folks that aren’t just socially conscious, but folks who genuinely care about people and care about learning more.”
And he tweeted this: Touche, Trump supporters!
Reading the tweets from the last week from all of the Trump supporters destroying my mentions saying “You gotta win before you even get invited to the White House” pic.twitter.com/KkjJSi7AxJ
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 5, 2018
Running back LeGarrette Blount declined to visit the White House last year when he was playing for the Patriots, telling reporters at the time;
“I just don’t feel welcome into that house. I’m just gonna leave it at that.”
So far, Blount hasn’t announced if he’ll go to the White House this year.
Following the Philadelphia Eagles’ victory over the New England Patriots, Trump tweeted:
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 5, 2018
Trump has regularly insulted Black NFL players who don’t feel inclined to stand for the anthem, but his insults are tone-deaf here. These players aren’t insulting the anthem; they are instead responding to how Black people are still being treated in this country.
Marshawn Lynch of the NFL’s Oakland Raiders stands for the Mexican Anthem and sits down to boos for our National Anthem. Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 20, 2017
In September, Trump attacked the National Football League and those players who decided to take a knee as The Star Spangled Banner was played, Time reports.
“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say ‘Get that son of a bitch right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’ Trump said in his typical overblown rhetoric.”
But several other members of the team have yet to say whether they will visit the White House. It’s time for them to step up and support their African-American brothers who are exercising their rights to peaceful protested; something that’s guaranteed by the First Amendment.
Jenkins, Long, and Smith are brave to continue their protests, and they are creating a movement. They are showing the way for all people who have been victimized by racism. Those who don’t support their teammates by boycotting Trump’s White House are, in essence, supporting systematic racism.
Whether they realize it or not.
You can watch Berman’s interview with Jenkins in the video below.
Featured image via YouTube video.