Cris Carter wants Barack Obama to invite the Super Bowl champions Philadelphia Eagles for a barbecue since Donald Trump disinvited them over national anthem protests.
In a Monday night tweet, the former wide receiver, who himself played for the Eagles for a couple of seasons in the late 1980s, suggested an alternative for the current Eagles players who won’t be going to the White House.
“President Obama should invite the Eagles to his house for a barbecue.”
So far, there’s been no word on whether or not Obama will take up Cris on his suggestion.
According to a February Rolling Stone report, the tradition of championship teams visiting the White House after their victories dates back to 1924, when the World Series champions Washington Senators visited Calvin Coolidge, although it took a while for the tradition to spread to the champions of all major sports leagues. For example, the Super Bowl champions didn’t start visiting the White House until the Pittsburgh Steelers visited Jimmy Carter in 1980.
And so, per tradition, the Eagles were planning to visit Trump at the White House – some of them, anyway. As Fortune reports, a handful of them declined to visit due to Trump’s criticism of national anthem protests, according to writer Natasha Bach.
— ThinkProgress (@thinkprogress) June 5, 2018
So on Monday, Trump uninvited the entire team.
The Philadelphia Eagles Football Team was invited to the White House. Unfortunately, only a small number of players decided to come, and we canceled the event. Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2018
It’s a move that Yahoo Sports writer Eric Adelson describes as “divisive.”
“Is the president being divisive? Absolutely. Yet to him, the divide was created solely by players who kneeled. To him, he is simply taking up for a vision of America that has been besieged. To those who dislike Trump, this day at the White House is a shot across the bow. To those who love Trump, this is self-defense.”
The Philadelphia Eagles aren’t the first team to be uninvited to the customary White House visit following a championship. Last year, after the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, Trump took exception to Warriors player Steph Curry, who had been critical of Trump. So Trump withdrew the invitation.
Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team.Stephen Curry is hesitating,therefore invitation is withdrawn!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 23, 2017
The issue of championship players declining to visit the White House hasn’t been limited to the Trump administration, however. In fact, champions have been publicly skipping White House visits since at least the Reagan administration, according to The Orlando Sentinel, when Larry Bird made it clear he had no intention of being in the same room with Ronald Reagan. Similarly, Michael Jordan declined the opportunity to visit George H.W. Bush.