SEABROOK – The Philadelphia Eagles had to contend with another 'Patriot' in Donald Trump after defeating the New England Patriots 41-33 on Feb. 4, 2018, when the POTUS swiftly canceled the Super Bowl championship ceremony on June 5.
Seen as a tradition for many professional sports teams to greet the president with open arms after winning a title, Trump decided that he would not acknowledge the team who he felt disrespected the American flag and himself.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump said in a statement. “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.”
Ironically enough, not one single Eagles player decided to take a knee during the National Anthem during the 2017-2018 NFL regular season. However, in response, Trump decided to host an over-the-top “Celebration of America” ceremony in place of the regularly scheduled event.
Trump aggressively rescinded his invitation after allegedly hearing that only a small number of players would be attending.
During the event, you could see the president standing in front of the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus mouthing the lyrics of the anthem and then you could audibly hear him being showered with boos and a heckler’s response after the completion of the song.
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney cited that Trump 'is not a patriot' for his transgressions as the Commander in Cheif and he let it be known in a statement after hearing that the Eagles would not have an opportunity to be honored at The White House.
“The Eagles call the birthplace of our democracy home, so it’s no surprise that this team embodies everything that makes our country and our city great,” Kenney said. "Their athletic accomplishments on the field led to a historic victory this year.
“Fans all across the country rallied behind them because we like to root for the underdog and we feel joy when we see the underdogs finally win. I’m equally proud of the Eagles’ activism off the field. These are players who stand up for the causes they believe in and who contribute in meaningful ways to their community. They represent the diversity of our nation—a nation in which we are free to express our opinions.
“Disinviting them from the White House only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend.”
Similar to the NFL not convening with the National Football Players Association (NFLPA) to make a decision of players kneeling during the National Anthem last month, Trump took it upon himself to let his personal feelings decide the fate of something that is bigger than himself, the beliefs of our people.
“Athletes are American citizens who have the First Amendment right to express their views,” Kenney said during an interview with CNN. “No one has the right for him to take that away and Donald Trump has tried to control the NFL and control the thoughts of this country and it is not working.”
Former University of Maryland standout wide receiver Torrey Smith was a part of the Eagles which recently won its first Super Bowl title in franchise history and was clearly affected by how his team was wrongfully characterized by the president.
“There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views,” Torrey said in a Twitter statement. “The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”
Smith said that incorrect information was spread from The White House and claimed that ‘The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are antimilitary.’
The former student-athlete started to become an activist while going to school in College Park and later created the Torrey Smith Family Fund, which provides resources to children in low-income areas. He has always been a strong voice in the community for those that do not have a fair shake in life. Smith decided not to attend the initial Super Bowl ceremony and was one of four NFL players who sent a memo to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell calling for Racial Equality and Criminal Justice Reform.
The NFLPA also weighed in on Trump’s action to cancel the Super Bowl ceremony in a recent statement.
“Our union is disappointed in the decision by the White House to disinvite players from the Philadelphia Eagles from being recognized and celebrated by all Americans for their accomplishment. This decision by the White House has led to the cancellation of several player-led community service events for young people in the Washington, D.C. area.
“NFL players love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders cited that the Eagles franchise posed a “political stunt” by allegedly “backing out at the last minute” of attending the ceremony as if Trump sending Vice President Mike Pence to an Indianapolis Colts game last year insisting him to leave if any players knelt was not of a similar juncture.
Or holding the “Celebration of America” to rebut the Eagles franchise in place of the Super Bowl celebration.
Our president’s attempt to silence the voices and actions of American citizens continues to systematically divide our country. He is spreading slanderous rhetoric of being unamerican if one decides to express their right to peacefully protest in our great country that is supposed to be viewed as free. Similar to my response to the NFL’s decision of punishing those who decide to take a knee, it is quite clear that Trump’s voice does not solely represent America and what we stand for. He is merely a temporary tenant in The White House who needs to respect that he is a man of the people and we serve him...not the other way around.
As the Flag Code clearly states that one “should” stand for the anthem, it is not a directive to do so and does not mean that a person is not proud to be an American. If we do not know our rights or express our concerns for this country, what makes us any different than a dictatorship?
Even though I stand for the National Anthem, I cannot stand for mental slavery.
Last modified onWednesday, 13 June 2018 17:27