When President Donald Trump canceled an event with the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles, he lamented NFL players who don't stand for the national anthem. Mr. Trump's statement accused the Eagles of disagreeing with his stance that all players should stand for the anthem. "I think if you layer on top of the fact that race relations are not good when it comes to talking about our president right now". President Trump urged owners to fire any player who demonstrates during the anthem and the Eagles, none of whom knelt during the regular season, were outspoken in their civic activism.
Some Eagles players hit back at Trump, saying the team never protested.
There was more fallout from the feud on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, basketball stars Lebron James and Stephen Curry of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors stated that regardless of who wins the NBA finals, neither of their teams would want to visit the White House.
"Sports are not a distraction from politics - they are politics by a different means", said University of Southern California sociologist Ben Carrington.
In snubbing the Eagles, Trump praised other championship teams that have attended White House celebrations during his administration, among them the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Houston Astros.More news: Ovechkin and Capitals overcome final hurdle to win Stanley Cup
The overwhelming issue surrounding the Eagles' planned visit was that most of the team was not going to attend, and that was a major factor in Trump deciding to pull the invitation.
Coach Doug Pederson had met with the team recently to gauge what the feeling around the locker room might be.
"What patriotism is is helping your fellow citizen and whether it's what [NBA player Kevin Durant is] doing or what we did when we visited Washington or what the Lynx are doing today, that's what patriotism is about". One of those reasons might be that their president called players a son of a bitch in a speech. They are fighting for social justice.
"What you've seen and what you've heard is enough".
Colin Kaepernick, an unsigned NFL free agent who started the movement of players kneeling during the national anthem, donated $1 million to charity. "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!" Trump's petty response to getting curved (less than 10 Eagles players reportedly planned to attend) ended up being a joke anyway, and made the National Football League look even worse for their cowering to the Comrade In Chief.