PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Eagles coach Doug Pederson said he was looking forward to going to the White House to be recognized as Super Bowl champions but he wouldn’t further discuss a visit that was canceled by President Donald Trump.
“I was looking forward to going down, obviously,” Pederson said Wednesday. “We did something last season that was very special, a milestone in the city of Philadelphia and for our organization. I was looking forward to being recognized as world champions. It is what it is.”
Pederson spoke to reporters for about eight minutes before the team held one of its scheduled practices and repeatedly made clear he didn’t want to discuss details of the trip’s breakdown. He declined to provide information on how things escalated to the White House accusing players of abandoning their fans by deciding to not attend.
Trump rescinded his invitation late Monday and instead turned the ceremony for the Eagles on Tuesday into his own brief “Celebration of America” after it became clear most players weren’t going to show up. Trump tied the dispute to his criticism of players who have kneeled during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality, even though no Eagles players kneeled for the song during the 2017 season.
“What you’ve seen and what you’ve heard is enough. I’m not discussing it,” Pederson said. “The team is great. We’re united. Our goal is 2018. It’s over. It’s behind us. We’re moving on.”
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, who had planned to skip the ceremony “to avoid being used as any kind of pawn,” said in a statement that at the White House a “decision was made to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military.”
Pederson said he didn’t have to address the issue with the team.
“Nobody was talking about it,” Pederson said. “Nobody. It’s over. It’s behind us. We’re moving on.”
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