Jeffrey Lurie's anti-Trump comments cloud discussion of Eagles' White House visit

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Malcolm Jenkins (center) and defensive end Chris Long (left) have already said they won’t be attending the Eagles’ White House visit.

The Eagles have been in contact with White House officials about a visit, a team spokesman said Monday. It is customary that Super Bowl-winning teams are honored by the president at the White House.

“We are honored to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognized for our on-field accomplishments, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country,” the team spokesman said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the New York Times that the White House has had “conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen.”

The conversations come while The Times reported that Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie called the President Trump’s presidency “disastrous,” according to a recording The New York Times obtained from an NFL meeting with players in October in which Lurie asked not to be quoted.

When a player said it was difficult to trust the owners because they supported President Trump, Lurie reportedly responded: “Another fact I want to throw out there: Many of us have no interest in supporting President Trump. Yes, there are some. There are some players who do, too. But this is not where you brandish a group of people because they own assets in a sport we love, supporting what many of us perceive as, you know, one disastrous presidency.”

The Times reported that Lurie used a vulgarity to emphasize “disastrous” before adding, “don’t quote me.”

A few players from the 2017 Eagles already have said they would not visit the White House, including Malcolm Jenkins, Chris Long, and Torrey Smith. They were among the most active and engaged in social injustice reforms last season.

A potential visit would receive more scrutiny this year, especially after President Trump spoke out in September about NFL players who demonstrated during the national anthem.

“I don’t want to take away from anybody’s experience or make it a big distraction,” Jenkins said in February. “It is a celebratory event. I want the guys who chose to go to enjoy that. …  Me personally, because it is not a meeting or a sit-down or anything like that, I’m just not interested in the photo op. … Over the last two years, I have been meeting with legislators, both Republican and Democrat, don’t matter — if you want to meet to talk about advancing our communities, changing our country, I am all for that. But this isn’t one of those meetings. So I’ll opt out of the photo opportunity.”

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie has supported his players in social activism. When he was asked last month whether the Eagles would visit the White House, he said the team had not had those discussions yet. Super Bowl-winning teams typically go to the White House during the offseason. The Patriots went in April 2015 and April 2017, the Broncos went in June 2016, and the Seahawks went in May 2014.

Worley joins Raiders

Cornerback Daryl Worley signed with the Oakland Raiders eight days after he was released by the Eagles.

Worley, a Philadelphia native, was arrested April 15 and charged with violation of the uniform firearms act, driving under the influence, and disorderly conduct, among other offenses, after he was found passed out in a car near Broad Street and Pattison Avenue. The Eagles released him that day.

They acquired the Penn Charter graduate in March in a trade for Torrey Smith. Worley never even practiced with this team; his arrest came on the day before the offseason program started.

 

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