So says Dan Wetzel of Yahoo Sports:
Eagles players are actually staying away from the White House for myriad reasons. To think the only objection they have with Trump is the national anthem policy is ridiculous and runs contrary to historical fact.
During the 2017 season and playoffs, not a single Eagles player knelt for the national anthem. Not one. In every single game, every single player stood. Even after Trump called NFL players who did kneel “sons of bitches,” the response by players was to stand for the anthem. They even linked arms with police officers and military personnel who had been invited to the game.
To repeat: There were no anthem protests by the Eagles, no matter what Trump or the state-run media is peddling.
“No one refused to go simply because Trump ‘insists’ folks stand for the anthem,” former Philly wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted.
Whatever. Facts don’t matter, and Trump knows that. This is “Fox & Friends” porn.
Trump doesn’t have a patriotic bone spur in his body – if he did, he wouldn’t have spent his time belittling prisoners of war, gold-star families, the FBI, federal judges and intelligence agents who protect the country from attacks.
He is, however, an undeniable master of waging culture wars to rile up his base. This is a popular issue for him to fight on, so he fights on it every time he can. It’s like a pop station playing the hits. If his voters shifted sentiment and started believing the players should have a right to kneel, Trump would quickly shift and champion that side.
Only the NFL could have been too dumb not to realize all of this when it decided to give him all the ammo he needed to blast it.
“Tell everybody, you can’t win this one,” Trump told Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, when Trump was lobbying the league to do what he wanted. “This one lifts me.”
Trump was right about that. It lifts him. A lot of Americans actually are patriotic and they don’t like protests during the anthem. Others don’t see the logic in allowing workers to act out politically while on the job – at most places you can’t. Still, others just love hearing someone call out highly paid (and mostly African-American) professional athletes for supposedly being ungrateful and un-American. That last segment is unfortunate, but it no doubt exists: