Trump rescinded his invitation to the Super Bowl champions Monday, with a memo stating the team disagrees with him “because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem.” Trump has condemned NFL players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Smith, who played for the Super Bowl-winning Eagles before being traded to the Panthers in March, was among several players Eagles players who said earlier in the year they would boycott the White House visit.
Smith tweeted that although he took a knee in previous seasons, no Eagles players knelt during the anthem in the 2017-2018 season. He said even though “not many people were going to go” to the White House, those who wanted to attend should have had the chance.
“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,” Smith tweeted.
Last month, the NFL announced a new policy requiring players to stand for the anthem if they’re on the field before a game.
Super Bowl winning teams are traditionally invited to the White House following their victories. The Eagles beat the New England Patriots, 41-33, in Super Bowl 52 in February. The White House will still host a celebration for fans planning to attend Tuesday — without the football team.
Responding to another tweet from Trump about the celebration on Tuesday, Smith tweeted: “Make sure you know the words, stand tall, and aren’t twiddling your fingers around like a kid that can’t wait for it to end.”