This year's Super Bowl champs will not be visiting the White House as planned on Tuesday—and President Trump says it is because of the NFL national anthem controversy. "The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House," Trump tweeted on Monday. "Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event." In a statement, Trump said the Eagles "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." White House officials tell the New York Times that fewer than 10 Eagles players had planned to attend.
In a Tuesday morning tweet, Trump said "we will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M.," adding that there would be "no escaping to the locker rooms," a reference to the NFL's new anthem rule. Former Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, a member of the championship team, called Trump's cancellation of the event a "cowardly act," CNN reports. "Here are some facts," he tweeted. "1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump 'insists' folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military." The AP reports that no Eagles players actually took a knee for the anthem last season. (Read more Philadelphia Eagles stories.)