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Jenkins, Long among Eagles players saying they'll skip White House visit

98   //    06 Feb 2018, 04:59 IST
Malcolm Jenkins
Malcolm Jenkins

s the clean-up from the celebrations in Philadelphia continued on Monday, some Eagles players had business of their own to handle, declaring they would not visit United States president Donald Trump at the White House. 

Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long were among the players to voice their plans after the Eagles beat the New England Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis on Sunday.

Safety Jenkins – a leader in the player's coalition that has met with NFL officials about social justice issues – explained his reasons for skipping the traditional Super Bowl champions' visit to the White House.

"My message has been clear all year. I'm about creating positive change in the communities that I come from, whether it be Philadelphia, New Jersey, Ohio, Louisiana, or this entire country," Jenkins told CNN on Monday.

"I want to see changes in our criminal justice system. I want to see us push for economic and educational advancement in communities of colour and low-income communities."

Defensive end Long, who skipped the White House visit last season as a member of the Patriots, had already said he would not go this year, either.

"No, I'm not going to the White House. Are you kidding me?", Long said last week on the Pardon My Take podcast.

Running back LeGarrette Blount, who like Long moved from the Patriots to the Eagles this season, boycotted last year's White House ceremony. He said at the time, "I just don't feel welcome into that house."

Blount has not announced his plans for this year.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith also indicated he will skip the ceremony, while also getting back at fans who had trolled him on social media recently.

There has long been precedent for athletes skipping championship commemorations at the White House; Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird once passed on a visit with president Ronald Reagan at the White House, saying, "If the president wants to see me, he knows where to find me." Yet they have become more common, and source of controversy, during Trump's time in office.

The Patriots attended last year's celebration, although a sizable number of players were missing. NBA champions the Golden State Warriors opted not to accept their invitation last season when Trump uninvited Stephen Curry for his comments on the president. The NCAA basketball champions Tar Heels did not attend a commemoration because of a "scheduling conflict."

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