With the Super Bowl LII win, the Philadelphia Eagles get to take home the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy – and possibly plan a visit to the White House.
But not every player will attend the customary celebratory event in Washington, D.C. President Trump has infamously clashed with the NFL throughout his first year as president, lambasting players who knelt in protest during the national anthem. And some of his policy positions and rhetoric have angered athletes.
Multiple players for the New England Patriots skipped the White House visit last year after the team’s Super Bowl LI win.
Here’s a look at which Eagles players will not be flying to the White House this year should the invitation be offered.
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins does “not anticipate attending” the visit to the White House, he told CNN after his team’s first Super Bowl win.
“My message has been clear all year … I want to see changes in our criminal justice system,” he said. “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 relationship between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.”
Jenkins raised his fist in protest during the national anthem throughout much of the 2017 season.
Even before the Eagles’ win, defensive end Chris Long told the “Pardon My Take” podcast that he would not visit the White House.
Last year, as a New England player, Long was among many players who skipped the visit to the White House when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. LeGarrette Blount, also a Patriots-turned-Eagles player, skipped last year’s White House visit as well.
Prior to the Super Bowl game, wide receiver Torrey Smith vowed to skip the White House visit. He told reporters players pay attention to Trump’s tweets and other news.
“We’re very informed about what goes on, and we’re trying to continue to educate ourselves,” Smith said, according to NJ.com. “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.”
When it comes to the protests, Smith has stressed that players are “not protesting the anthem,” but instead engaging in a “protest during the anthem.”
“I understand why people are mad or may be offended when someone takes a knee,” he said.