It used to be pretty standard that major league sports teams that won championships would get an invite to the White House for a celebration in their honor. Things are clearly different with the Trump administration, though, after he invited — and then uninvited — the reigning Super Bowl champions. Now, the Philadelphia Eagles' response to Trump uninviting them has come out, and the statement makes it clear that missing a White House visit isn't at the top of their list of concerns.
"It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship. Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration," a Twitter post of the statement read. "We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season."
With that statement, the Eagles responded to Trump without mentioning him at all — a move that was "level 10 savage," according to one Twitter commentator on the subject.
This statement came only hours after Trump had officially disinvited the Eagles with a statement of his own, Sports Illustrated reported. Trump's statement took a distinctly different tone than the Eagles', insinuating that the team was anti-military because some of them did not want to come to the White House event.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," the statement read, continuing as follows:
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. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.
The statement continued with an invitation for fans to come to "a different type of ceremony — one that will honor our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem."
Trump's decision to disinvite the team, CNN reported, was an unprecedented occurrence. Previously, the Golden State Warriors had turned down an invitation from Trump after winning the 2017 NBA Championship, CNN wrote, but Trump didn't withdraw the invitation. Players deciding not to show up also isn't new — CNN used the example of 2012 Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas turning down an invitation from President Obama over policy disagreements — but no president has ever rescinded an invitation.
According to Eagles Wire, Trump rescinded the invitation after a couple of prominent players, including safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long, said that they would not attend because of their standing disagreements with Trump's policies. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie had given his players the option of whether to attend or not, and numerous players had decided not to go — even before they were collectively disinvited.
This incident also comes soon after the NFL owners unanimously decided that players would no longer be allowed to kneel on the field during the playing of the anthem without risking heavy fines, as the NFL reported. This was met with heavy criticism from all around the internet, but Trump praised the decision, The Washington Post reported.
It's interesting that this issue would have erupted over the Philadelphia Eagles, though, as The Washington Times reported in February that they were one of only seven teams in the league in which not a single player had taken a knee during a single game. Based on the Eagles' response to Trump's original invitation, though, it's clear that their decision not to kneel didn't mean that they were entirely supportive of the president's policies.