Pederson: Eagles moving on from White House saga
The Philadelphia Eagles are ready to move on from the saga surrounding United States president Donald Trump's decision to uninvite them from the traditional White House visit to celebrate their Super Bowl victory.
Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson spoke about the controversy for the first time on Wednesday during a media conference before the Eagles started OTA practice, but was not willing to say too much.
"This is going to be a blanket statement, and then I'm not going to discuss it further," Pederson told reporters.
"I was looking forward to going down. We did something last season that was very special. It was a milestone for our city of Philadelphia, our organisation, and I was looking forward to going down and being recognised as world champions. It is what it is."
Asked about allegations from the White House that the Eagles chose to "abandon" their fans and not attend the ceremony as a complete team, Pederson responded: "What you've seen and what you've heard is enough, and I'm not discussing it.
"I'm not discussing it because we've got two OTA practices, I've got a mandatory minicamp next week, and I'm focused on that.
"We're united. We're a team. Been that way since I've been here. We're focused on today, great practice, today and tomorrow, three days next week and our goal is 2018. Nobody's talking about it. It's over, behind us and we're moving on."
The White House released a statement on Monday banning the Eagles from participating in the traditional visit. The statement said of the Eagles: "They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honour of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country."
Trump then tweeted on the matter, writing: "Only a small number of players decided to come, and we cancelled the event."
Last month, the NFL announced it will allow players to remain in the locker room while the anthem plays but will fine players and other personnel on the field who "do not stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem."
Trump previously stated that he agreed with the NFL's decision but, in a tweet on Tuesday, wrote: "Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling."
The NFL is facing labour grievances from ex-San Francisco 49ers Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, both of whom claim they have been blacklisted due to their decisions to kneel during the anthem.
The Eagles held an OTA practice on Tuesday instead of visiting the White House.