President Donald Trump has continued his war of words with the NFL, this time taking on a political football that he appeared to fumble, not once, but twice. First, the President rescinded an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles once it was learned the team couldn’t promise that all players would stand with hand on heart for the national anthem.
That apparently infuriated Trump, who issued a statement regarding the controversy. He has been a vocal opponent about NFL players protesting, and praised a league policy announced two weeks ago that requires players stand if they are on the field during the performance, but gives them the option to remain in the locker room if they prefer.
“They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country,” the statement said.
When the team suggested sending a smaller delegation to the White House, the President bristled at the idea, saying, “The 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
Response to the his actions were swift.
“NFL players love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place,” the NFL Players Association said in a statement Tuesday morning.
“These are players who stand up for the causes they believe in and who contribute in meaningful ways to their community,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement. “They represent the diversity of our nation – a nation in which we are free to express our opinions,” the mayor said in a statement.
Loss for Words
So Trump announced he would be at the White House on Tuesday and Eagles fans were invited for a patriotic display.
“I will be there at 3:00 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America,” Trump tweeted.
The President, though, seemed to have trouble remembering the words to both the National Anthem and God Bless America. Video shows him bungling the words to both songs, then standing silent until each is concluded by the US Army Chorus.
As expected Twitter was quick and brutal towards the president’s celebration.
Rob Fontano tweeted: “At least Hitler knew the words to the songs during HIS National Pride events.”
Aaron Rupar said, “Trump touts the crowd size, then awkwardly bobs his head while people sing “God Bless America.” #killme
NBA Next in White House Sights?
Not surprising athletes were vocal against the president’s actions. Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James said that neither his team or the Golden State Warriors would accept an invitation to go to the White House if they win the NBA Championship.
“I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants an invite anyway, “ James said during a news conference on Tuesday. “It won’t be Cleveland or Golden State going. As long as he’s in office, then the communication and things like that are going to continue to happen. It’s a lot of things that we believe in as Americans that we don’t feel that he’s for.”
While athletes remain critical of the current administration, sportsbooks don’t believe the NFL’s new policy will be an issue. Bovada has the line at 3.5 that teams will face fines regarding National Anthem protests during the 2018 season.