It is normally just a fun photo opportunity where the president says a few words about the team, the team presents the president with a customized jersey, a few pictures are taken and that's it. It's a milestone here in the city of Philadelphia, our organization, and I was looking forward to going down and being recognized as world champions. It is what it is. "I was able to confirm that we're talking about Nick Foles and then maybe one or two other players. So that's where we're at". ESPN's Adam Schefter added that "a large group of Eagles players had decided not to attend, including most - if not all - of the black players".
"We love our country, we respect our flag and we always proudly stand for the national anthem", Trump said at the event. He also pointed out that none of the Eagles players kneeled during the national anthem during the regular season and postseason this past year.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, one of the team's most recognizable symbols for social change, finally responded to the controversy surrounding the cancellation of his team's visit to the White House, and he did so powerfully.
"It is what it is", Pederson said. "We stand to honor our military and to honor our country and to remember the fallen heroes who never made it back home". We love everything about the people who come and watch us and support us, whether it's in training camp or in the stadium. We're a team. Been that way since I've been here.
At the meeting, Trump said his wife "went through a little rough patch, but she's doing great".
Long sounded disappointed that National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell didn't say something supportive of the Eagles, although he added what the Commish does "isn't my business". "Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the vast majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today".
Also Wednesday, hockey player Devante Smith-Pelly said he would skip a White House visit if the Washington Capitals win the Stanley Cup.