NFL Football

The Latest: Eagles safety says players aren't anti-anthem

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) The Latest on President Donald Trump's cancellation of the Philadelphia Eagles' visit to the White House (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins says NFL players who have been speaking out politically are fighting for racial and social equality, not disparaging the national anthem.

Jenkins issued a lengthy statement on Twitter on Tuesday after the White House disinvited the Eagles from an event originally intended to honor the Super Bowl champions. President Donald Trump has framed the decision around the national anthem and his repeated arguments that NFL players should be required to stand on the field when the song is played before games.

Jenkins says the White House made a decision "to lie, and paint the picture that these players are anti-America, anti-flag and anti-military."

He says he will "continue to fight for impacted citizens and give a voice to those who never had one."

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3:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has held a "patriotism" event at the White House in lieu of a Super Bowl celebration for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles that he canceled.

The president said Tuesday on the South Lawn that it's time to "explain why young Americans stand for our national anthem."

Trump sang along to "The Star-Spangled Banner" and "God Bless America" during a brief ceremony that included the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army chorus.

Trump did not mention the Eagles. He accused players of abandoning their fans because many had said they wouldn't show up. Late Monday, he canceled the event because of the anticipated low turnout.

The president says that the nation needs to remember the "fallen heroes" and that the country stands together "for freedom, we stand together for patriotism."

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2:55 p.m.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it was the Philadelphia Eagles, not President Donald Trump, "who changed their commitment at the last minute" to a White House Super Bowl celebration. Trump had been prepared to host the Eagles Tuesday, but announced Monday he was canceling the event.

Earlier, the White House said that the team notified the White House last week that 81 people, including players, coaches and managers would be attending. But late Friday, the team tried to reschedule, proposing a time when Trump would be overseas.

In the end, Sanders says the Eagles offered to send "only a tiny handful of representatives" to the event, "while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend."

She says, "if this wasn't a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn't have planned to attend the event and then backed out at the last minute."

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12:10 p.m.

The White House is blaming the Philadelphia Eagles for President Donald Trump's decision to cancel a planned White House event celebrating the team's Super Bowl championship.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the team last Thursday notified the White House that 81 individuals, including players, coaches and managers would be attending.

However, the team got back in touch with the White House late Friday and tried to reschedule, proposing a time when Trump would be overseas.

In the end, she says the Eagles offered to send "only a tiny handful of representatives" to the event, "while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend."

She says, "In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans," prompting Trump to cancel.

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11:50 a.m.

Fox News is apologizing for airing footage that wrongly suggested Philadelphia Eagles players knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.

Christopher Wallace, executive producer of "Fox News (at) Night," says in a statement that during the show's report about President Donald Trump canceling the Eagles' visit on Tuesday to the White House to celebrate the team's Super Bowl win, the show displayed "unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer."

He says, "To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year," adding: "We apologize for the error."

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9:35 a.m.

The NFL Players Association says President Donald Trump's decision to scrap a White House visit for the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles led to the cancellation of several smaller community events in the Washington area the Eagles players were to lead.

The players union said in a statement Tuesday that it is disappointed by the decision and that NFL players "love their country, support our troops, give back to their communities and strive to make America a better place."

The Eagles plan to resume organized team activities in Philadelphia, though the early practice in preparation for the season is not expected to be open to reporters.

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8:55 a.m.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney is criticizing President Donald Trump for canceling the White House celebration of the Eagles' Super Bowl win and for panning players who refuse to stand for the National Anthem.

Kenney, a Democrat, said of Trump on Tuesday morning on CNN: "When he had the opportunity to serve his country for real, his father got him out of it, and I think it's really disingenuous for him to talk about patriotism in any way shape or form."

The mayor was referring to deferments Trump obtained during the Vietnam War for his college education and for bone spurs in his heels.

Kenney said Eagles fans would take the president's withdrawing the invitation in stride.

"Eagles fans understand that our players are individuals who can stand up for themselves and stand up for what they believe in and that's what this country's about," Kenney said.

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7:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump says he'll be honoring America at the White House on Tuesday after he canceled a scheduled event with Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Trump tweeted: "We will proudly be playing the National Anthem and other wonderful music celebrating our Country today at 3 P.M., The White House, with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus. Honoring America! NFL, no escaping to Locker Rooms!"

Trump announced Monday that he had called off the Eagles' visit, citing the dispute over whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the national anthem.

The NFL recently announced a new policy requiring players to stand for the anthem if they're on the field before a game or otherwise remain in the locker room.

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12:45 a.m.

A White House celebration of the NFL champion Philadelphia Eagles has been called off by President Donald Trump, who says fans deserve better than the smaller delegation the team was sending to the event planned for Tuesday.

Trump is citing the dispute over whether NFL players protesting racial injustice must stand during the playing of the national anthem. However, none of the Eagles took a knee during the anthem in 2017.

In a statement issued Monday less than 24 hours before the event, Trump says some members of the team disagree with his insistence that they "proudly stand" for the national anthem in honor of military veterans and the nation as a whole.

Trump says a different ceremony will honor veterans and the nation instead.

Updated June 5, 2018

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