What he means, I take it, is that the Warriors aren’t going to the White House for an NBA champs ceremony. (Sorry, LeBron.)
LeBron James on President Trump canceling Philadelphia Eagles' visit to the White House:
"I know no matter who wins this series, no one wants the invite anyway, so it won't be Golden State or Cleveland going." pic.twitter.com/Uj5eeyoFFY
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 5, 2018
Steph Curry confirmed that LeBron is correct, which is too bad. If you think a Trump/Kim Jong Un summit is news, imagine a summit between Trump and Draymond Green.
Did Trump pull the rug out from under the Eagles or did the Eagles pull the rug out from under Trump? Watch Sarah Sanders explain the timeline here. Supposedly the team RSVP’d for 70-80 people, leading the White House to believe that most of the players would show. Then on Friday they called to say that only a handful would be there unless the ceremony could be moved to next week — when, as the whole world knows, he’ll be in Singapore meeting Kim. One thing I don’t understand about that, though, is why the Eagles would be so weaselly about their objections to Trump. If they didn’t want to show because they objected to his politics, things he’s said about race, etc, the woke thing to do would have been to be upfront about it. Just cancel. Don’t “reschedule.”
Press Sec. Sanders accuses Eagles of playing "political stunt" with White House visit.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 5, 2018
Mike Garofalo of the NFL Network reported something similar last night, claiming that the team had been chatting among themselves over the last few weeks about alternatives to a ceremony at the White House. One idea was that some players would go, others would spend the day doing community work, others would sightsee. In the end, allegedly, team owner Jeff Lurie decided that only a small token contingent would attend. ESPN heard the same. In the end, fewer than 10 people were going to show up when normally the Super Bowl ceremony at the White House would involve dozens. Trump, always keenly aware of image, no doubt imagined the side-by-side photos to come of Obama being surrounded by scores of smiling players a few years ago and Trump standing with Lurie, the punter, and the guy who keeps the Gatorade cooler full. So he canceled. The Eagles couldn’t break up with him. He was breaking up with them first!
He’s getting torn to bits for it by celebrity political opponents today, some from the sports world, some from entertainment:
I want Proof, the Muthafukker demanding folks stand for the Anthem actually knows the words to the Anthem!!
— Samuel L. Jackson (@SamuelLJackson) June 5, 2018
As is his wont he’s equating the opposition to him personally with opposition to the country, the flag, the national anthem, America itself by symbolically replacing the Eagles at today’s ceremony with the U.S. Army Chorus. He also tried to spin his last-minute objection to the team’s attendance as a dispute over the NFL’s national-anthem policy, tweeting that “Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling.” But as many others have pointed out, no Eagles knelt during the anthem during the regular season last year. He’s pulling a grievance off the shelf and applying it to them because demagoging the anthem is a better political play than admitting that the team didn’t want to hang out with him.
Silver lining, though: Maybe this’ll end the silly spectacle of the president visiting with championship sports teams. How that tradition got started (or the even stranger one of the president calling the winning locker room after the big game), I don’t know. It was a political inevitability, I guess, since presidents recognize that photo ops with winning teams are among the cheapest and easiest ways to earn goodwill from voters. After the Eagles fracas, though, and now with the Cavs and Warriors saying “no thanks,” I wonder if Trump will see any more NFL or NBA teams show up to the White House for the rest of his presidency.
Exit question: Did any of the 1,000 Eagles fans invited to the team ceremony show up to today’s patriotic singalong instead?
— Tim Furlong (@tfurlong) June 5, 2018