The Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles are set to visit the White House on Tuesday afternoon to be honored for their victory by President Donald Trump. However, it is undetermined on how many Eagles players will actually be at the event.
There has been a lot of conversation over the last year or so about what championship teams from their respective sports will go to the White House to be honored by President Trump. The New England Patriots, Houston Astros, the University of Alabama football team, and other college champions have all gone to the White House.
On the other hand, teams such as the Golden State Warriors and the University of South Carolina Women’s Basketball Team have opted not to go to the White House.
The Warriors went to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. to do community outreach in February, after President Trump rescinded their invite last September due to comments made by Stephen Curry.
South Carolina women’s basketball team, who won the national championship in 2017, declined President Trump’s invitation.
In terms of the Eagles, defensive end Chris Long, defensive end Brandon Graham, safety Malcolm Jenkins, and former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith stated at various points that they will not be going to the White House.
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Jenkins explained his reasoning on why he would not be going to the White House last week at OTAs.
"For me, there’s a lot going on with that administration, and I don’t think it’s the time to really have any productive or constructive conversations about policy," Jenkins said per the Delaware News-Journal. "I definitely want to avoid being used as a kind of a pawn. And the way things have gone over the past few months, I don’t think the time is right for that."
Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz is one of the players who will likely attend. The second-year quarterback was asked his thoughts about the White House visit, before the beginning of OTAs.
"Personally, I don't view it (this way), I know some people do, but I don’t view it as a political thing whatsoever. I don’t mess with politics very often, but I will be involved in going to that," he said per 247 Sports.
"For me personally, if the team decides as a whole, most guys want to go and be a part of it, I will be attending with them. I think it's just a cool way to receive the honor, kid of nationally and be recognized."
It should be interesting to see what other Eagles players or personnel decide to go to the White House and their reactions to meeting with Trump. In particular, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has been one of the more outspoken NFL owners in response to President Trump.
Lurie was one of the owners quoted in the N.Y. Times piece about the confidential meeting held on the National Anthem protests. In that meeting, Lurie called Trump’s presidency disastrous and advised players not to get caught up by the president’s comments.
“We’ve got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whomever else,” he said. “We have to find a way to not be divided and not get baited.”
Lurie has also stood by his players who protested this past season.
Head coach Doug Pederson will be making the trip to the White House and said himself that it is up to the individual player to decide whether or not they want to go.
Nevertheless, the White House photo on Tuesday should be telling on how many players do or do not show up.
Four players have made it clear that they will not be attending. It would not be surprising to see that number increase Tuesday.