Eagles Response for Pending Invitation to the White House

February 9, 2018 2:46 pm Published by

Near the beginning of the NFL’s 2017 season, President Trump repeatedly attacked the NFL for allowing players to protest racial injustice ahead of games by taking a knee during the national anthem. Last week Trump again emphasized the importance of standing for the national anthem during his State of the Union speech. He also issued a statement the afternoon of the Super Bowl encouraging players not to protest ahead of the game.

Now that the Philadelphia Eagles have won Super Bowl LII on February 4, the public waits to see if the President will invite the team to the White House, and if so, whether the invitation will be accepted. Even before knowing if there is an invitation, a few players have already made up their minds.

Three of the Eagles most vocal players on the topic – Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith – have already stated that they don’t plan to attend the White House if an invitation is extended. During the season, Jenkins, Long, and Smith traveled to Harrisburg to meet with state lawmakers on criminal justice reforms. They also attended bail hearings to get a better understanding of the system, which they consider to be unfair.

Here are their respective responses to media on the topic:

  • Malcolm Jenkins, Safety
    • Jenkins, who leads the Player’s Coalition, helped secure an almost $100 million pledge by the NFL to fund community programs. In a CNN interview he demonstrated how he continues to stay true to his season-long platform messaging on what he is trying to do in the communities where he lived.
      • “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,” Jenkins 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.”
  • Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver
    • Smith, who is part of the Player’s Coalition, shared in a pre-Super Bowl press conference and on CNN that he will not visit the White House.
      • In an interview on CNN he shared his personal reasons for not going, while also sharingFor me, it’s not just about politics. If I told you I was invited to a party by an individual that I believe is sexist or has no respect for women, or I told you that this individual has said offensive things toward many minority groups and I don’t feel comfortable by it. This individual also called my peers and my friends SOBs, you would understand why I wouldn’t want to go to that party. So why is it any different when this person has the title of President of the United States?” “I respect the office… for me it’s about doing the right thing.”
      • “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.”
  • Chris Long, Defensive End
    • Long, who created Pledge 10 for Tomorrow, a campaign that promotes educational equity and opportunity for underserved youth in the three NFL cities he’s played in – Philadelphia, Boston, and St. Louis, also donated his entire salary to charity after the issues in his hometown, Charlottesville, VA. He didn’t visit the White House after playing for the Patriots’ winning team last season. He said during an interview on Pardon My Take Podcast last week that he would decline an invitation to celebrate with the president if invited again.

These players have stayed true to their beliefs and their messages have remained consistent. As the wait to see whether the team is invited to the White House or not continues, we’ll follow the response of the team and its players.

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This post was written by Veronica Mikitka Reed

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