Trump congratulates Eagles; some players have said they won't visit White House

A year ago, after the Patriots beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, their ensuing visit to the White House really felt like a celebration with Robert Kraft, Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady all being supporters of President Donald Trump and vice versa. Even still, several players opted to skip the White House trip because they didn't support Trump and his policies. 

This year, the Patriots lost to the Eagles in Super Bowl LII, which means the Patriots-Trump party won't be happening. Instead, it'll be the Eagles who'll visit the White House, which creates an interesting situation. 

Many of the Eagles' players have been both critical of Trump and very concerned with social justice issues. Trump, meanwhile, has been very opposed to the social-injustice protests, advocating for NFL teams to fire players who don't stand during the national anthem and calling on the NFL to create a rule that forces players to stand. So, as expected, one aspect will remain the same as last year in that multiple players are planning on skipping the trip.

After the game, Trump congratulated the Eagles on their thrilling 41-33 win.

Before the game, a few Eagles players already made it known that they'd skip the White House trip if they won. Defensive end Chris Long, who played on the Patriots last year and skipped the visit, will not go this year. During the season, Long also donated all 16 of his game checks to various charities.

"No, I'm not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?" Long told the "Pardon My Take" podcast.

Running back LeGarrette Blount also played for the Patriots last year. Like Long, he skipped the White House trip, saying he didn't "feel welcome in that house." Based on that comment, which he made last year, it seems unlikely that Blount would go this season. 

Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who has been a vocal critic of Trump, has fought for social injustice issues, and previously raised his fist during the national anthem, will not attend the trip. He explains to CNN below:

Eagles receiver Torrey Smith is also out on the trip. He tweeted that his decision "goes beyond politics....I don't think he is a good person."

It's not yet known when the Eagles will head to the nation's capitol to celebrate their achievement. Last year, the Patriots' visit took place in mid-April. Fewer team members attended than their visit in 2015, when Barack Obama was president.

The New York Times reports:

A Patriots spokesman, Stacey James, said Wednesday night that 34 players had attended, similar to the turnout when President George W. Bush hosted them in 2004 and 2005. He said that more than 45 players attended the ceremonies in 2002, after the franchise's first Super Bowl, and that in 2015, when Barack Obama was president, the number of players approached 50.

James said that one reason substantially fewer players showed up this time as compared to 2015 was that some veteran players did not see the need to go twice in three years.

In September, Trump rescinded the White House's invitation to the Golden State Warriors in response to comments made by star point guard Stephen Curry, who said the Warriors had "an opportunity to send a statement that hopefully encourages unity, encourages us to appreciate what it means to be American, and stand for something" by rejecting the invitation. 

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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