A day after President Donald Trump disinvited the Philadelphia Eagles from a White House celebration of their Super Bowl victory because, “They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem,” even though nobody on the team kneeled for the anthem, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders accused the Eagles(!) of a “political stunt” and attempted to clarify Trump’s remarks just as nonsensically.
In an official statement from the White House, Sanders said the Eagles accepted Trump’s invitation “after extensive discussions” that began in February, and on Thursday the team provided a list of “82 individuals including players, coaches, management, and support personnel” to be cleared by the Secret Service along with 1,000 Philadelphia fans for Tuesday’s scheduled event. She then added:
Late Friday, citing the fact that many players would not be in attendance, the team contacted the White House again, and attempted to reschedule the event. The President, however, had already announced that he would be traveling overseas on the dates the Eagles proposed. The White House, despite sensing a lack of good faith, nonetheless attempted to work with the Eagles over the weekend to change the event format that could accommodate a smaller group of players. Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today. In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.
Upon learning these facts, the President decided to change the event so that it would be a celebration of the American flag with Eagles fans and performances by United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus.
Let’s unpack this pettiness, shall we?
‘Only a tiny handful of representatives’
At least the White House admits that the president threw a temper tantrum because “only a tiny handful of representatives” from the Eagles planned to attend, even though we knew within 24 hours of the Eagles winning the Super Bowl that a number of players never planned on visiting Trump.
And how about that “despite sensing a lack of good faith” line? The Eagles still offered to send their tiny handful of representatives, and Trump canceled, trying to make it all about the national anthem controversy. The reality is, as former Eagles wideout Torrey Smith explained, they believe Trump “is sexist,” “said offensive things towards many minority groups” and called NFL players “sons of bitches.”
There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) June 4, 2018
So, who’s acting in bad faith?
‘The Eagles team decided to abandon their fans’
The White House actually said, “The vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”
How so? By winning the Super Bowl and hosting a celebration in the city of Philadelphia? This is a sad attempt by the White House to pit the Eagles against the president. Nothing more. Nothing less. And anybody who thinks Philadelphia fans are going to start rooting for an Eagles opponent is delusional.
Which brings us to …
‘A celebration of the American flag with Eagles fans’
Ah, yes, there’s nothing Philadelphia fans who anticipated seeing their beloved Eagles want more than to be pawns of the president’s false patriotism equation. In other words: I know you came to see Nick Foles reenact the Philly Special play on the White House lawn, but instead we’re going to make you stand through the national anthem so we can pretend the Eagles are disrespecting the military when in fact they are protesting racial inequality in a country led by a president they believe encourages it.
The White House Press Secretary probably didn’t want to write that, though, so she went with a statement bashing the Eagles for not providing a crowd size big enough to match the president’s ego.
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