Smith reacted to the sitting president's decision to rescind an invitation to the Super Bowl champion Eagles to celebrate their victory over the New England Patriots on Tuesday. The receiver pointed out Donald Trump failed to grasp why many Eagles weren't planning on attending and is spreading a "false narrative that players are anti military":
Torrey Smith @TorreySmithWR
There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish
This comes after CNN's Phil Mattingly passed along the White House's statement, which suggested Trump and the Eagles disagreed on his insistence players stand during the national anthem rather than kneel to protest injustices and police brutality:
Mike Garafolo of NFL Network reported fewer than 10 Eagles were planning on going to the White House anyway before Trump decided the invitation was off.
This all comes after the NFL enacted a new policy this offseason that gives players the option to remain in the locker room during the anthem but requires those on the field to stand. Trump praised the effort while appearing on Fox & Friends but also suggested those who protested injustices by kneeling shouldn't even be in the United States.
"You have to stand proudly for the national anthem," he said. "You shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."
The topic was a major talking point during the 2017 season, especially after Trump suggested at a rally NFL owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if a player knelt during the anthem.
Smith was vocal in his disappointment with the new rule change, telling David Newton of ESPN.com that money was a motivating factor and there could be additional protesting as a result:
"You're disappointed but not surprised. At the end of the day, the league is about money, it's a business. To try to silence those guys when they're trying to do the right thing for our country, I don't know what to say about it.
"It could stir things up, which is a problem. Because you're stirring things up because you're being told to be quiet, when it could have been done together to figure out what we can do to move forward and what would be best for the players."
He also tweeted about it, noting there is a misunderstanding that players are being disrespectful toward the flag:
Smith was a teammate of Colin Kaepernick on the San Francisco 49ers in 2015 and 2016. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to protest injustice by kneeling during the anthem and was not signed to a team during the 2017 campaign. He has since filed a grievance against the league alleging collusion.