PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - The White House has released another statement claiming the Philadelphia Eagles 'abandoned their fans' just one day after President Donald Trump rescinded the team's invitation to visit the White House as Super Bowl Champions.
The team was scheduled to visit the White House Tuesday, June 5 before the invitation was pulled on Monday night by the president. Trump said in a statement Monday that some Eagles players "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."
On Tuesday, the White House released another statement explaining that back on May 31, the Eagles had submitted a list of 81 attendees that included players, coaches and management. They were cleared by the Secret Service the next day and were scheduled to visit the White House along with 1,000 fans.
Later Friday night, White House officials say the team attempted to reschedule the event, “citing the fact that many players would not be in attendance.” The team then proposed new dates that were already slated for the president's overseas travel.
The White House says both sides attempted to work together to change the event format to accommodate a smaller group of players.
“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,” the statement read.
According to the statement, the Eagles then offered to only send a “tiny handful” of representatives, while “making it clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today.”
The statement goes on to say. “the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”
After learning of the small number of representatives, President Trump decided to change the event to a celebration of the American flag with Eagles fans and performances by the United States Marine Band and United States Army Chorus.
Monday night, the Eagles released a statement on social media saying, “It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship. Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing preparations for the 2018 season.
After the cancelation, the Eagles hosted organized team activities at the NovaCare Complex on Tuesday.
Tuesday morning, the president also continued to comment on the event and appeared to challenge part of a new NFL policy that allows players who want to protest during the national anthem to do so in the locker room.
The policy requires players to stand for the anthem if they are on the field. Trump had praised the policy after the NFL announced it.
Instead of hailing Eagles players for their work on the field and in the community, the White House is staging a "Celebration of America" featuring music provided by U.S. military bands and choruses.
"We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!" Trump tweeted.
None of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem during the 2017-18 regular season and postseason.
Shortly after the White House released their statement, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who has been at the forefront of the team's off the field efforts, released a statement of his own.
Jenkins described some of the efforts he and his teammates have made over the last several years to make their community a better place, noting that Chris Long donated his salary to charity last season.
"It's not our job. No one elected us to do this. We do it because we love this country and our communities. Everyone, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, deserves to be treated equally. We are fighting for racial and social equality," Jenkins wrote.
Jenkins goes on to point out that none of the Eagles' players knelt during the national anthem last season.
"Instead the decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-American, anti-flag and anti-military," Jenkins added.
Jenkins says he and his teammates will continue to fight for those without a voice, ending his statement with #TheFightContinues.