Some Philadelphia Eagles players may not visit the White House because of their opposition to President Donald Trump.
After winning the Super Bowl on Feb. 4, the Pennsylvania team is expected to make the traditional presidential visit, yet already it appears a few may not, reports WGHP.
Asked in a Jan. 28 Pardon My Take Podcast interview if he will make the trip, Eagles defensive end Chris Long was the first player to say no.
"No, I'm not going to the White House," Long, who boycotted the White House visit after playing for last year's champions, the New England Patriots, said. "Are you kidding me?"
Throughout the season, Long has repeatedly voiced support for his teammates' protests.
"For me, being from Charlottesville, no one wants to see you sit idly by and watch that stuff happen and not say anything," Long said after the deadly white-supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August of 2017. "And I wish there was more categorical denial from some very important people in this country who have had the opportunity to strike it down but didn't."
Eagles players Torrey Smith and Malcolm Jenkins also refuse to celebrate the Super Bowl win with the president, New York magazine reports.
"We read the news just like everyone else," Smith said before winning the Super Bowl, pointing out there "are problems" and that they are "not shy about speaking up about them," reports NJ.com.
Both players are known to be outspoken critics of Trump.
Smith, an ardent defender of those raising fists or kneeling during "The Star-Spangled Banner," defended such actions against the president's criticisms.
"They call it the anthem protest," Smith said. "We're not protesting the anthem. It's a protest during the anthem."
"Now that the NFL has given us a platform to do more, I think people sometimes just need to look at the issues, and not just a protest," he added.
Nevertheless, before, during, and after the Super Bowl, Trump continued to repeatedly voice his opposition to such protests. In a statement released after the game ended, Trump dropped lines referring to the national anthem debate.
"Though many of our nation's service members are unable to be home with family and friends to enjoy this evening's American tradition, they are always in our thoughts and prayers," Trump's statement read, reports CNN.
"We owe these heroes the greatest respect for defending our liberty and our American way of life. Their sacrifice is stitched into each star and every stripe of our Star-Spangled Banner. We hold them in our hearts and thank them for our freedom as we proudly stand for the national anthem."