Trump disinvites Philadelphia Eagles from White House Super Bowl celebration

President Donald Trump rescinded an invitation for the Philadelphia Eagles to visit the White House on Tuesday to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.

“They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” Trump said in a statement. “The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

He said the fans would still be welcome at the White House on Tuesday but for a different ceremony meant to “honor our great country” and “pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it.”

HuffPost has reached out to the Eagles for comment.

Several Eagles players, including safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long, had said they would skip the ceremony due to ongoing attacks by the president against players that had knelt on the field in protest. Other players had waffled on their participation. Eagles officials had left the decision up to the players.

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Fans celebrate the Philadelphia Superbowl LII victory over the New England Patriots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Fans celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles' Superbowl LII victory over the New England Patriots on Broad Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. February 4, 2018. Picture taken February 4, 2018. Beth Soffer/Handout via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY
Fans celebrate the Philadelphia Eagles' Superbowl LII victory over the New England Patriots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. February 4, 2018. Picture taken February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Kaufman
A fan wearing an underdog mask celebrates the Philadelphia Superbowl LII victory over the New England Patriots in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania U.S. February 4, 2018. Picture taken February 4, 2018. REUTERS/Mark Makela
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 05: philadelphia police officers try to keep fans away after broken macy's store windows while celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles' victory in Super Bowl LII game against the New England Patriots on February 5, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Fans react to Super Bowl LII high-fiving an Eagles fan bus in traffic on February 4, 2018 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the favored New England Patriots winning their first Super Bowl championship 41-33. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 05: Philadelphia police officers try to keep fans away from City Hall while celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles' victory in Super Bowl LII game against the New England Patriots on February 5, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 05: Fans celebrate in Center City after the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl on February 5, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 05: A traffic pole is seen broken while celebrating the Philadelphia Eagles' victory in Super Bowl LII game against the New England Patriots on February 5, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate victory in Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots on February 4, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Police officers stand guard as Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrate victory in Super Bowl LII game against New England Patriots on February 4, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania..(Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Eagles fans react to Super Bowl LII on Broad Street near City Hall on February 4, 2018 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the favored New England Patriots winning their first Super Bowl championship 41-33. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Eagles fans react to Super Bowl LII on Walnut Street near City Hall on February 4, 2018 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the favored New England Patriots winning their first Super Bowl championship 41-33. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Eagles fans react to Super Bowl LII on Walnut and Broad Streets near City Hall on February 4, 2018 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the favored New England Patriots winning their first Super Bowl championship 41-33. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 04: Eagles fans react to Super Bowl LII on Walnut and Broad Streets near City Hall on February 4, 2018 in downtown Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Eagles defeated the favored New England Patriots winning their first Super Bowl championship 41-33. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
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Some NFL players quickly took to social media to challenge the president’s assertion. Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, who played for the team during the Super Bowl, accused the White House of spreading a false narrative and said no one had refused the invitation “simply because Trump ‘insists’ folks stand for the anthem.”

“The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go,” Smith wrote. “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.”

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) said he, too, would skip the ceremony after Trump’s announcement, saying he was proud of the team while lambasting the White House for pulling a “political stunt.” He issued his own invitation to the Eagles tour the Capitol instead.

The NFL said last month that players would be required to stand during the national anthem or face punishment, although they will be allowed to remain in the locker room during pregame ceremonies if they choose. Teams could be fined if their players sit or kneel on the field, as many have done in recent months in protest of police brutality and racial injustice.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence had roundly criticized such kneeling and used the protests to attack players as unpatriotic, at times calling for a boycott of the NFL.

“It was unfortunate that on-field protests created a false perception among many that thousands of NFL players were unpatriotic,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement announcing the move last month. “This is not and was never the case. This season, all league and team personnel shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.”

Eagles players issued their own criticism of the new league policy, including Long, who said it was “not patriotism.”

“This is fear of a diminished bottom line. It’s also fear of the president turning his base against a corporation,” the defensive end wrote on Twitter at the time.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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