It's official: The Eagles are headed to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl LII victory over the Patriots. The White House confirmed the visit will take place on June 5.
In any other year this wouldn't be particularly newsworthy but as recently as last month the Eagles reportedly hadn't committed to traveling to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Trump.
On Tuesday, Eagles coach Doug Pederson told reporters "We're excited to be going," but added, "At the same time, it's an individual decision [for the players]."
Defensive end Chris Long, who skipped the White House visit a year ago when he won a Super Bowl with the Patriots, has already said he won't attend this year either. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, who has been critical of Trump and an outspoken supporter of player protests to raise awareness about social-justice issues, also has said he won't attend. From February:
Philadelphia Eagles star Malcolm Jenkins says he intends to skip the team's upcoming visit to the White House to commemorate their Super Bowl victory https://t.co/l0GhR7jev7 pic.twitter.com/mIDgaCuPtt— CNN (@CNN) February 5, 2018
Same goes for wideout Torrey Smith, now with the Panthers, who has said that his decision to pass on the trip "goes beyond politics ... I don't think he is a good person."
"[When] my son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is," Long said in February, via the Washington Post. "I don't want him to say, 'Hey Dad, why'd you go [to the White House] when you knew the right thing was to not go?'"
Last October, a month after Trump called for owners to cut any player who kneels during the national anthem, Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, used "a vulgarity" to describe Trump's presidency as "disastrous" in a secret recording obtained by the New York Times.
During the NFL owners meeting last October, Lurie took a shot a Trump in a secret recording that was obtained by the New York Times. During the meeting a player said that owners couldn't be trusted because they side with Trump, and Lurie responded by saying that Trump's presidency has been disastrous.
"Many of us have no interest in supporting President Trump," Lurie said at the owners meeting in response to a player who was concerned that owners couldn't be trusted to be impartial about the protest because many of them were aligned with Trump. "Yes, there are some. There are some players who do, too. But this is not where you brandish a group of people because they own assets in a sport we love, supporting what many of us perceive as, you know, one [expletive] disastrous presidency."
The Eagles have OTAs scheduled for June 5, which means they'll likely have to shorten the session before making their way to Washington.