A planned celebration of the Super Bowl-winning Philadelphia Eagles was canceled because “the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives” to the event, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday in a statement.
Update 3:10 p.m. EDT June 5: Huckabee Sanders said the decision to cancel Tuesday’s celebration for the Philadelphia Eagles was made because of a “political stunt” by the Eagles franchise.
She said earlier Tuesday in a statement that the decision to cancel was made after the Eagles franchise said only a handful of 80 Eagles representatives expected to attend would be making it to the event.
“If this wasn’t a political stunt by the Eagles franchise then they wouldn’t have committed to attend the event and then backed out,” Huckabee Sanders said.
Original report: The statement came one day after White House officials released a statement announcing that Trump plans to “loudly and proudly play the National Anthem” at an event at 3 p.m. Tuesday to “celebrate America” in lieu of the Super Bowl celebration.
Huckabee Sanders said about 80 of the Eagles’ players, coaches, management team members and support personnel initially planned to attend the event. She said that number dwindled to only “a tiny handful of representatives” after White House officials were unable to reschedule the event due to Trump’s planned June 12 trip to Singapore to meet with North Korean leader Kim Yong Un.
Officials implied on Monday that a lack of respect of the the National Anthem influenced the decision.
“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 people of our country,” a statement from Huckabee Sanders’ office said.
However, Cox Media Group Washington Insider Jamie Dupree noted that no Eagles knelt last year during the national anthem. Despite that, he reported, “A number had made it clear they were not going to show up at the White House, to show their displeasure with the President’s very public stance on the national anthem.”
Check back for updates to this developing story.