The Philadelphia Eagles stunned the New England Patriots on Sunday night, and a handful of players have already explained why they won't be taking part in the traditional White House visit.
“No, I personally do not anticipate attending that,” Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins told CNN's “New Day” on Monday.
Asked what message he would like to send to the president, Jenkins didn't hold back:
"I don't have a message for the president. My message has been clear all year. I'm about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether that be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country. I want to see changes in our criminal justice system, I want to see us push for economical and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities, and I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.
And that's what myself and my peers have been pushing for for the last two years, and that's what I will continue to do."
Jenkins won't be alone in his decision to skip out on a potential visit with Donald Trump — Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith and defensive end Chris Long announced they would forgo a visit before the Super Bowl even started.
“We read the news just like everyone else,” Smith told NJ.com in an interview ahead of Sunday's game. “[...] We're very informed about what goes on, and we're trying to continue to educate ourselves. It's pretty special to have a group like that of folks that aren't just socially conscious, but folks who genuinely care about people and care about learning more.”
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Smith also took issue with the characterization of a protest movement that took the NFL by storm in 2017:
"They call it the anthem protest. We're not protesting the anthem. It's a protest during the anthem. I understand why people are mad, or may be offended when someone takes a knee.
My father when he dies, is going to be buried with an American flag draped around his casket, being that he served in the army. I understand why some people are offended by it. Also, there are soldiers that have issues going on right now, and they are things that effect them. They're things that effect my father. He understands both sides of the issue."
As for Chris Long, his reasoning for skipping a White House visit was more succinct.
“No, I'm not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?” Long said in an interview with sports podcast “Pardon My Take.”
Long was also a member of the New England Patriots team that was invited to the White House in 2017. When he decided to skip that visit, Long provided a more in-depth answer in a video for Green Stripe News.
“My son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is, I don't want him to say, 'Hey dad, why'd you go [to the White House] when you knew the right thing was to not go?'”
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