It's customary for the team that wins the NFL's Super Bowl to visit the White House, but not much followed custom during this past NFL season. The league's decrease in popularity could at least partially be attributed to President Donald Trump, who called for fans to boycott the league over players' national anthem protests.
Trump has become a big part of the Anthem story; team owners recently confirmed he impacted their response to the protests. Monday, Trump disinvited the Eagles from the White House, citing the protests as the reason.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," the White House said in a statement. "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 Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better."
Philly's mayor harshly criticized Trump, saying his decision "only proves that our President is not a true patriot, but a fragile egomaniac obsessed with crowd size and afraid of the embarrassment of throwing a party to which no one wants to attend."
Now, the team has responded. The Eagles released a statement about their disinvitation—and it didn't even mention Trump.
"It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship," the Eagles said. "Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season.”
The preseason doesn't kick off until Aug. 2, but the team is currently engaged in OTAs.