PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Latest on the canceled White House visit for the Super Bowl champion Eagles (all times local):
Eagles players and officials made individual decisions to not go to the White House for a scheduled celebration of their Super Bowl title, leaving two players actually planning to make the trip to Washington before the visit was canceled by President Donald Trump, according to players and a person familiar with the arrangements.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because of the sensitivity of the issues.
All-Pro center Jason Kelce said players filled out forms anonymously indicating whether they wanted to go to the White House, not make the trip or go to Washington and do something else.
The players did not urge a collective decision on what to do as a team, giving each player his own option of whether to take the trip.
Defensive end Chris Long, who skipped the trip last year with the New England Patriots and wasn’t planning to go again, said he hopes athletes on championship teams in all sports won’t have to make the decision in a couple years when Trump’s term is up.
Eagles coach Doug Pederson says he was looking forward to going to the White House to be recognized as Super Bowl champions but he wouldn’t further discuss a visit that was canceled by President Donald Trump.
Pederson spoke to reporters for about eight minutes on Wednesday before the team held one of its scheduled practices and repeatedly made clear he didn’t want to discuss details of the trip’s breakdown. He declined to provide information on how things escalated to the White House accusing players of abandoning their fans by deciding to not attend.
Trump rescinded his invitation late Monday and instead turned the ceremony for the Eagles on Tuesday into his own brief “Celebration of America” after it became clear most players weren’t going to show up. Trump tied the dispute to his criticism of players who have kneeled during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality, even though no Eagles players kneeled for the song during the 2017 season.
Pederson says the team is united and plans to move on from the issue.