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Trump keeps up blitz on NFL players with 'Celebration of America'

June 05. 2018 10:54PM
President Donald Trump participates in a "celebration of America" event on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Tuesday. The event was arranged after Trump canceled the planned visit of the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles to the White House. (REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s kept up his feud with the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday after most team members refused to attend an event honoring their Super Bowl victory in the fallout over Trump’s demand that players stand for the national anthem.

Trump staged a political event on the White House South Lawn in place of a Super Bowl party for the Eagles, insisting on the need for Americans to stand up for the anthem to honor those who have sacrificed their lives for the nation.

“We stand to show our love for our fellow citizens and our magnificent Constitution,” Trump said as many attendees waved small American flags.

Trump has feuded with National Football League players over the past year, blasting on-field protests in which players sat or kneeled during the national anthem to protest racial bias in the U.S. criminal justice system amid accusations of excessive use of force against black people by police.

None of the Eagles players knelt during the playing of the anthem during the football season, but Trump brought up the anthem protests when he canceled the team’s invitation on Monday after many players said they would not attend the celebration.

There was more fallout from the feud on Tuesday. Star basketball players LeBron James, of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Stephen Curry, of the Golden State Warriors, said they agreed that whichever team wins the NBA championship would skip the traditional visit to the White House.

Last September, Trump revoked an invitation to the Warriors, which had beaten the Cavaliers for the title, after Curry said he would vote against a planned visit.

The White House on Tuesday said it had canceled the long-established capital tradition for the Super Bowl winning team after the Eagles said that just a handful of people would attend the event, fewer than the 81 initially proposed.

At least two members of the champion team and the NFL players’ union pushed back, saying that the event should have gone forward if any Eagles planned to attend.

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