Super Bowl Champion Eagles to Visit Donald Trump, White House on June 5

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson holds up the Vincent Lombardi trophy after winning the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Eagles won 41-33. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Philadelphia Eagles head coach Doug Pederson announced on Tuesday the organization will visit President Donald Trump at the White House on June 5 to celebrate their Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots.

"We're excited to be going," Pederson told reporters. "At the same time, it's an individual decision (for the players)."

Deena Zaru of CNN previously noted safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long and wide receiver Torrey Smith are among the Eagles players expected to skip the trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Carson Wentz spoke to reporters Tuesday, giving his thoughts on the ceremony:

"For me, personally, if the team decides as a whole, most guys want to go or be a part of it, I'll be attending with them. I think it's just a cool way to receive the honor nationally and be recognized. I don't personally view it - I know some people do, everyone has their opinion on it - I don't view it as a political thing whatsoever. I don't mess with politics very often. But I will be involved in going. The rest of the details will be coming out soon."

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who donated to a pro-Hillary Clinton group before the 2016 election, spoke out about Trump during a league meeting in October, according to a report from the New York Times:

"Another fact I want to throw out there: Many of us have no interest in supporting President 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 disastrous presidency," he said, using a vulgarity to emphasize "disastrous," then adding, "Don't quote me."

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Although players opting to skip the White House visit has occurred in the past, it's become a more politicized topic since Trump took office.

The president withdrew an invitation to the 2017 NBA champion Golden State Warriors after superstar guard Stephen Curry refused to commit to being in attendance.

That led the Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, the NBA's gold standard and most well-known global presence, to send a veiled message to Trump via Twitter:

Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston reported 34 of the 68 Patriots players invited on last year's White House trip showed up.