Fresh off of the Philadelphia Eagles’ first Super Bowl win in franchise history, some members of the team have already made clear that they have no intention of attending the champions’ traditional White House visit.
Wide receiver Torrey Smith, defensive end Chris Long and safety Malcolm Jenkins are some of the players who have said they don’t plan to participate in the visit to the White House, NJ.com reported.
The decisions come after President Trump last year ignited controversy when he targeted players who kneeled in protest during the national anthem.
The protests began in 2016 with then-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice.
Trump last year called for the NFL to implement a rule requiring that players stand during the anthem, saying that kneeling was disrespectful to the country’s flag and its military.
Smith said last week that the players aren’t protesting the anthem itself, but rather are protesting during the anthem. He said he understands why people may be mad or 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,” he said.
“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 affect them. They’re things that affect my father. He understands both sides of the issue.”
Long — when asked if he plans to attend the White House trip — said he didn’t plan to go
“No,” Long said during the Pardon My Take Podcast. “I’m not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?”
Jenkins has in the past raised his fist during the national anthem and has spoken out against Trump.
“I personally do not anticipate attending that,” he said during an interview on CNN.
Trump on Sunday offered his congratulations to the Eagles after the team won their first Super Bowl.
“Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!” the president tweeted.
Congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles on a great Super Bowl victory!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 5 de febrero de 2018