On May 31, the Eagles said 81 players, coaches, members of management and other team personnel would attend the White House event yesterday, according to a statement by Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary

The next day, June 1, the team said that “many players would not be in attendance” and sought to reschedule the event, according to Sanders’s statement.

But the president was to be overseas on the new dates the Eagles proposed for the celebration, according to the statement, which noted a sense of “a lack of good faith” from the team.

Ultimately, the Eagles said that “only a tiny handful of representatives” would join the celebration, the statement said, “while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event.” A photo of Mr. Trump and just a few players could make for bad optics for a president with a 41 percent approval rating.

The White House called the meager turnout an insult to Philly football fans. “In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans,” Ms. Sanders said in the statement.

Ms. Sanders later called the team’s decision a “political stunt.”

(Eagles fans span a tristate area across New Jersey, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania — areas that mostly voted for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 presidential election.).

Mike Sielski, a Philadelphia sports columnist, said the notion that the Eagles would abandon their fans was “silly.”

Mike Sielski


White House saying “abandoned their fans” is silly. You ever try to abandon an Eagles fan? Can’t be done. Those people are relentless. Tweet at ya. Chase after ya in parking lots. Crazy.

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