Eagles’ visit to White House to celebrate Super Bowl 52 planned for June 5
A handful of Eagles players said in February that they do not plan to attend.
The White House announced the news first Thursday, through deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters:
“President Trump looks forward to welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles to the White House on June 5th to celebrate their Super Bowl LII win.” – White House Deputy Press Secretary Lindsay Walters
— Jonathan Tamari (@JonathanTamari) May 17, 2018
In April, the Eagles said there were ongoing discussions with the White House on the logistics of a trip and the team said it was considering the invitation.
“We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington,” the Eagles said in a statement. “We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field accomplishments, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country.”
The Eagles made a similar statement after the invitation was extended Thursday:
“We are in the process of working through the logistics of a trip to Washington D.C., including a visit to the White House, on June 5th.”
Who will or won’t be attending?
It’s likely that several Eagles players will skip the visit. Safety Malcolm Jenkins, wide receiver Torrey Smith (now with the Panthers), and defensive end Chris Longall said they do not plan to attend. Running back LeGarrette Blount was with the Patriots for Super Bowl 51 and chose not to attend, so he’s another player that could opt against the visit.
“I personally do not anticipate attending that,” Jenkins told CNN a day after the Super Bowl. “[I’m not sending] a message [to] the president, my message has been clear all year. I’m about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country.
“I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economic and educational advancement in communities of color and low-income communities. And I want to see our relationships between our communities and our law enforcement be advanced.”
Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles isn’t among those players, telling reporters in April he’ll “be with the organization” on whatever they decide regarding the visit.
It’ll also be interesting if Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie joins the team on the trip. During a meeting with players and owners, Lurie reportedly said Donald Trump was leading “one disastrous presidency.”
The Eagles will need to work around their OTA schedule
Another small logistics hurdle is that the visit on June 5 conflicts with a week of organized team activities (OTAs). Philadelphia has a finite amount of offseason practices and has OTAs scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday of that week.
It’s unclear for now if the Eagles will scrap the Tuesday practice altogether, but the trip to Washington is a short one from Philadelphia, and the team could move the practice to another day.
The Patriots’ visit in 2017 happened in April and didn’t interfere with OTAs.
Super Bowl champions have visited the White House annually for more than three decades. Jimmy Carter first invited the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1980 and it became an annual tradition during Ronald Reagan’s presidency.