The U.S. Marine Band was there, but neither quarterback Nick Foles, nor head coach Doug Pederson, nor any member of the 2018 Super Bowl winning team was at the White House Tuesday for what was to be a celebration of the Philadelphia Eagles victory.
Lurie decided that a smaller contingent of players - of which, Garofolo says he was told would be less than 10 - would visit the White House before Trump called off the ceremony.
The dramatic and slobberknocker 41-33 Super Bowl LII win was the first ever for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Last season, some National Football League players went on one knee during the anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men, sparking a controversy.
Smith, who played with the Eagles before being traded to the Carolina Panthers in March, added: "No one refused to go simply because Trump "insists" folks stand for the anthem".
The NFL owners last week adopted a new anthem policy that will allow for players who do not wish to stand for the anthem to remain in the tunnel. "When the national anthem plays, you stand and you put your hand on your heart". "Unfortunately, only a small number of players chose to come, and we canceled the event", Trump tweeted.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday just prior to the White House event that "the vast majority of the Eagles team made a decision to abandon their fans".
No Eagles sat or knelt during the National Anthem during the last NFL season, although some did protest by raising their fists.
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Last September, the possibility of a White House visit for the National Basketball Association champion Golden State Warriors broke down after Trump took issue with star guard Stephen Curry saying he would not attend a celebration. McCarthy is close enough to Trump that he has been floated as a possible White House chief of staff and Wicker is also perceived as supportive of Trump.
Last week, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he would not attend the ceremony and participate in a group photo to "to avoid being used as any kind of pawn".
He says, "To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season past year", adding: "We apologize for the error".
The Warriors, last year's National Basketball Association champs, were not invited to the White House, a moot point since they said they would not go if invited.
The policy, which the league claimed received unanimous ownership approval, despite two owners abstaining, another firmly backing his players and a report that no official vote was ever held, was initially praised by Trump and vice president Mike Pence. "He's going to have a party, celebrate America", Huntsman said.
On Twitter and in public rallies, Mr. Trump has abused African-American players, questioned their patriotism and called their supporters anti-nationals. "It's also fear of a president turning his base against a corporation".
The politics are already playing out in the state's Senate race, where Republican Rep. Lou Barletta is challenging Democratic incumbent Bob Casey. I'm skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress.