While it is customary for the president to invite the winning team to the White House for celebrations, players such as Torrey Smith, Chris Long and Malcolm Jenkins have indicated they won’t accept an invitation from U.S. President Donald Trump, NJ.com reported.
Jenkins reiterated his position during an appearance on CNN Monday morning, saying he “does not anticipate” taking part in a White House visit.
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“My message has been clear all year,” Jenkins said, explaining that he wants to see changes in the criminal justice system.
The refusal to celebrate their win at the White House comes after Trump has repeatedly criticized National Football League players for supporting the Black Lives Matter movement by kneeling during the U.S. national anthem.
Tensions reached a high in September 2017 when Trump said any player taking part in the demonstrations was a “son of a b—h” who should be fired. Trump has said he’s opposed to players taking a knee because it’s disrespectful to the country’s flag and anthem, and has “nothing to do with race.”
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While Eagles players didn’t take a knee during the Super Bowl, some players did raise their fists in solidarity with the movement.
The president’s criticism led several players from the New England Patriots — who won the Super Bowl last year — to reject an invitation to the White House.
Among them was LeGarrette Blount, who now plays for the Eagles.
“I just don’t feel welcome into that house,” he said at the time. “I’m just gonna leave it at that.”
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Another player named Devin McCourty told Time magazine: “With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
More than 30 other players didn’t attend the White House visit.
Meanwhile, Trump tweeted his congratulations to the Eagles Sunday night.
“Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!” he wrote.