Tuesday, June 5, 2018

On Giving the Lone Eagles Salute to White House Honors

It has been a long standing tradition that winners of national sports championships are invited to the White House to be feted.

The Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl championship in 52 years in the NFL by beating the New England Patriots.  The underdog Eagles were slated to visit the White House but the event was cancelled when only nine of seventy team personnel were confirmed to visit the South Lawn ceremony, again dragging politics unto the sports field.

While it is true that no Philadelphia Eagles players Took the Knee during the Francis Scott Key Star Spangled Banner, some players raised their fists, akin to the Black Power salute during the 1968 Summer Olympics.  But by skipping the White House honors was intended as a progressive protest against the winner of the 2016 Presidential election, President Donald J. Trump.

Lest one excuse their absences from the White House ceremonies as not just flipping the bird at President Trump, consider the invitation by the Mayor Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia) to visit Philadelphia City Hall for alternative honors.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney on Donald Trump disinviting the Philadelphia Eagles from visiting the White House for winning the Super Bowl

President Trump reacted to the Philadelphia Eagles recalcitrance to attend the White House ceremonies, so he disinvited the NFL championship ceremony and in its stead opted for a patriotic pep rally.

The NFL recently changing their rules to require players on the field to stand for the National Anthem (but allowing them to stay in their locker rooms) to mitigate the mire that has been festering since Colin Kaepernick started protests during the National Anthem in 2016. Ratings for the NFL have significantly dipped since the National Anthem protests.  Moreover, President Trump has often weighed in to support respecting civic rituals which honor our nation as embodied in the National Anthem.

Clearly the NFL owners made a business decision, but it mirrors the wishes of many erstwhile pro football fans to have an avocation away from polemic politics. Alas, the progressive instinct is to politicize everything.  There are rumors that some NFL players are saying that they will sit out the 2018 season until Colin Kaepernick is signed as a quarterback and is not penalized for taking his knee during the National Anthem. It is a pity that the Philadelphia Eagles organization used South Lawn ceremony as another extension of partisan warfare by trying to give President Trump the Lone Eagle salute.  But this allowed the populist President to counter-punch and reinforce values which appeal to many coalitions of new Republican voters as part of the Great Revolt.

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