Being invited to the White House for public recognition of your achievements is an honor.
This is true regardless of who is president. Why? Because the president – whether you personally approve of him or not — is the representative of the American people and the White House is the people’s house.
So, what happened when the Eagles were invited to the people’s house for a ceremony to honor them for their Super Bowl victory? Fewer than 10 members of the organization accepted the invitation. Apparently all of the other Eagles had something more important to do than to condescend to accept the accolades of their fellow Americans.
Too many professional athletes have an inflated opinion of themselves and their relative importance to society. The Eagles who declined the White House invitation have it exactly backward. Their attendance would not do honor to either the president or the American people. The idea was for the people – acting through their president — to honor the team.
But, if the overwhelming majority of the team doesn’t want to accept the honor, then why should we have to go forward with the ceremony after they have insultingly refused to attend? On that basis, President Trump, as the representative of the American people, was absolutely correct in withdrawing the spurned invitation.
“The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow,” President Trump said in a statement released late Monday. “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.” He’s right.
The Eagles’ behavior is typical of the self-importance and narcissism that have been on display at NFL games as protesting athletes kneel during the national anthem. Everybody is entitled to his political beliefs and opinions. But, just as the White House is the people’s house, so too is the flag of our nation the emblem of the American people. Every time an overpaid, pampered athlete takes a knee in protest, it is plainly, simply, and inescapably an insult.
America will endure, prosper, and prevail with or without the approval of these cosseted, self-centered athletes. But they need to wake up. We don’t need them. They need us.
The NFL is part of the entertainment industry. As show business, it is by definition a luxury and entirely dispensable. Thanks to the pregame protests, it has already suffered a decline in attendance and viewership.
The Eagles’ refusal of the White House invitation will only steepen the decline for the simple reason that treating the American people with arrogant disrespect is an imbecilic and self-defeating marketing strategy.