The Eagles have yet to respond to the news, which was first reported by 6ABC, but White House deputy press secretary Lindsay Walters confirmed it in an email to Philly.com.
The initial invitation was extended to the Eagles in late April. The team released a statement at that time that they were working through the logistics of the visit, and viewed it “not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field achievements, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country.”
Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long and former wide receiver Torrey Smith — now with the Carolina Panthers — are three of the Eagles players who have said they would not attend if an invitation was presented.
“I don’t want to take away from anybody’s experience or make it a big distraction. It’s a celebratory event, and I want the guys who choose to go or whatever to enjoy that,” Jenkins said in February. “Me personally, because it’s not a meeting or a sitdown or anything like that, I’m just not interested in the photo op.
“Over the last two years, I’ve been meeting with legislators, both Republican and Democrat, it don’t matter. If you want to meet to talk about events in my community, changing the country, I’m all for that. But this isn’t one of those meetings, so I’ll opt out of the photo opportunity.”
Jenkins told reporters on Thursday that while he will not be going to the White House, he will be travelling to Washington, D.C. with teammates that day. Jenkins, the co-founder of the Players Coalition, has been very active on the social reform front. He has made numerous trips to Washington and Harrisburg, PA to lobby for criminal justice reform.
The timing of White House visits for Super Bowl-winning teams has varied over the years. The New England Patriots’ visit last year was announced in late March and occurred on April 19.
Quarterback Tom Brady was among those who did not attend for “personal family matters.” In all, 34 players were present for the ceremony, a total similar to the team’s past visits in 2004 and 2005 but noticeably fewer than in 2002 and 2015.