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Philadelphia Eagles

Trump Cancels Philadelphia Eagles’ Visit to the White House

President Donald Trump withdrew his invitation to welcome Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House Monday evening.

Several prominent team players—including safety Malcolm Jenkins and defensive end Chris Long—had announced they would not attend the meeting as a protest against Trump.

The news comes amid controversy over players standing for the National Anthem at NFL games.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” Trump wrote in a statement.

“They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country. The Eagles wanted to send a smaller delegation, but the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”

The President explained fans were “still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony”.

The ceremony, Trump wrote, would honor the USA, pay tribute to the heroes who fought to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem.

“I will be there at 3 p.m. with the United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus to celebrate America,” he said.

It’s an unprecedented move by the President—the NBA champion, Golden State Warriors, declined an invitation from Trump to visit the White House after their 2017 championship win, but presidents usually honor their invitations to championship teams.

The debate centers on Long and Jenkins’ outspoken support of San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

The NFL owners adopted a new policy on May 23 that will allow players who do not wish to stand for the National Anthem to remain in the tunnel. The NFL can also fine teams whose players do not stand and “show respect” during the anthem. Trump also said players who chose not to stand “shouldn’t be in the country”.

According to several reports, fewer than 10 players were intending to attend the White House event.

Wide receiver Torrey Smith wrote in a tweet: “There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go.

“It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish.”

 

Sen. Bob Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat, said he’s skipping the White House event, and instead invited the team to take a tour of the US Capitol.

“I’m proud of what the @Eagles accomplished this year. I’m skipping this political stunt at the White House and just invited the Eagles to Congress. @Eagles How about a tour of the Capitol?” he wrote on Twitter.

 

The team’s statement, released late Monday night, did not address Trump’s action directly:

“It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship. Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season.”

Further reading: Former Pittsburgh Linebacker James Harrison Announces Retirement

White House

White House Supports UK Decision to Expel Russian Diplomats

The White House supports the UK government’s decision to expel Russian diplomats residing in Britain, it has said.

The UK has concluded that the Russian government is responsible for the attempted assassination of former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, 66 and his daughter Yulia Skripal, 33, using a dangerous nerve agent in the British city of Salisbury.

The statement from the White House reads:

“The United States stands in solidarity with its closest ally, the United Kingdom. The United States shares the United Kingdom’s assessment that Russia is responsible for the reckless nerve agent attack on a British citizen and his daughter, and we support the United Kingdom’s decision to expel Russian diplomats as a just response. This latest action by Russia fits into a pattern of behaviour in which Russia disregards the international rules-based order, undermines the sovereignty and security of countries worldwide, and attempts to subvert and discredit western democratic institutions and processes. The United States is working together with our allies and partners to ensure that this kind of abhorrent attack does not happen again.”

The supportive statement from the White House comes after the US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, told the UN Security Council that the US stood in “absolute solidarity” with its ally, the United Kingdom. In a strong rebuttal against the Russian government on the subject, Haley said that the US shared the UK’s assessment of the events that took place.

“The United States believes that Russia is responsible for the attack on two people in the United Kingdom using a military-grade nerve agent,” Haley said.

UK prime minister Theresa May has said that the diplomats, who have been identified as “undeclared intelligence officers”, have a week to leave the country. The UK described the poison as “a weapon so horrific that it is banned in war”.

Russia vehemently denies involvement in the attempted assassination. Mrs May has said that Russia has met the accusations with “sarcasm, contempt and defiance”.

Both victims are currently in a critical but stable condition in hospital.

Video Game Violence

Trump to Host Video Game Violence Meeting

In response to the atrocious Florida school shooting that killed 17 students last month, president Donald Trump is to host a video games violence meeting on 9 March with gaming industry professionals. Trump has often voiced his opinion that violent video games were “shaping young people’s thoughts.”

White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said “As we continue to work toward creating school safety programs that protect all children, the president will be meeting with video game industry leaders and members of Congress to discuss violent video game exposure and the correlation to aggression and desensitization in children.”

Often the first to be blamed for real-life violent actions, the gaming industry has historically vehemently defended itself against such claims, saying that there is no evidence to suggest that it is true.

The Electronic Software Association (ESA) who represent the gaming industry in the United States, has said that they will be attending the video games violence meeting held by Mr Trump.

The ESA said, “The upcoming meeting at the White House will provide the opportunity to have a fact-based conversation about video game ratings, our industry’s commitment to parents, and the told we provide to make informed entertainment choices.”

CEO Strauss Zelnick, of the company that makes game favorite Grand Theft Auto, and Robert Altman, chaiman and CEO of parent company that produced Fallout will also be in attendance.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), an industry organization responsible for content and age guidance for videogames, will also be in attendance.

The White House’s press secretary Sarah Sanders has said that violence in video games was “certainly something that should be looked at and something that we want to have the conversation about.”

The president has voiced his concerns regarding video game violence translating into reality. On Twitter in 2012, Trump tweeted: “Video game violence & glorification must be stopped.”

Further reading: Dick’s Sporting Goods to No Longer Sell Assault-style Rifles