Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins has released a sharply worded statement in response to President Trump disinviting the team to visit the White House. The Super Bowl LII champions had been originally scheduled to meet the president on Tuesday to celebrate their victory over the New England Patriots last February.
In a Twitter post Tuesday, Jenkins wrote in length of the players’ plight, defended what they’ve done for their local community and hit back at the White House, calling the snub a way to “paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag, anti-military.”
Praising his teammates, in particular defensive end Chris Long who donated his entire 2017 salary to charity, Jenkins said they’ve “fed the hungry, we’ve mentored our youth, we’ve fought to create opportunities for communities and individuals who have been disenfranchised, we’ve given scholarships and the list goes on.”
“We’ve done all of this while climbing to the win the highest esteem in our profession. We are athletes, but as citizens, we are doing everything in our power to make our communities better. That is the hard, but, right thing to do,” the two-time Super Bowl champion said.
In a statement released Monday, Trump said that he was rescinding the invitation because the Eagles players “disagree with their president” who “insists that they proudly stand for their national anthem.” Jenkins said in his post that Trump’s claim that his teammates refused to stand is false, as “zero” Philadelphia Eagles players knelt during the anthem last season.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” the White House statement continued. “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 the people of our country.”
The cancellation came after several players — including Jenkins and Long — said that they would not visit the White House following the team’s championship.
Jenkins isn’t the only Eagles player to blast the White House’s decision. On Monday, wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote on Twitter that “It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”
Read Jenkins’ statement in full below:
— Malcolm Jenkins (@MalcolmJenkins) June 5, 2018