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So many reasons for Eagles to pass on White House visit

May 22, 2018

When Donald Trump infamously referred to immigrants coming from bleeph—e countries, one of them being Haiti, he obviously didn’t know that star quarterback Carson Wentz of the Philadelphia Eagles had committed to doing the majority of his philanthropic work there.

Nor did he know that Eagles running back Jay Ajayi’s parents are from Nigeria, another country the president ignorantly besmirched. And it’s a good bet Trump didn’t know the team’s billionaire owner, Jeffery Lurie, is married to a Vietnamese immigrant.

Obviously this president harbors vile and despicable prejudices against people from certain countries, Black and Brown people in specific. The same day he disparaged them, he spoke longingly of welcoming more immigrants from places such as Norway, where the population is as white as the snowcapped mountains that dot the countryside, AKA his comfort zone.

This is just the tip of the iceberg why any member of the Eagles, a professional sports team that has expressed more revulsion toward this president’s ceaseless stream of xenophobia, bigotry and abnormal behavior beneath the office of the president, should opt out of the White House invitation - attendance is optional - for a photo op with Trump on June 5.

To do anything else is to contribute to the continued normalization of a president who has demonstrated himself to be anything but normal, and it would paint the Eagles, a team that has been at the forefront in pushing back against the insanity coming out of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., as hypocrites.

The NFL comprises 70 percent African-American players, the same race as the overwhelming majority of unarmed men who have been seen repeatedly killed by police on viral videos. NFL players, both Black and white, raised their fists and kneeled in unity before games during the playing of the national anthem the last two seasons in peaceful protests to bring attention to these all-too-frequent “isolated incidents.”

It was the simple exercising of their First Amendment rights by a concerned group blessed with a unique — but powerful — platform to urge the nation to take a close look at police brutality. Trump responded by calling the players “sons of bitches.” He nefariously twisted it into an attack on the flag and patriotism by ungrateful Black men, and his base, a haven for this type of reprehensible hatred, accepted his reframing of the issue hook, line and sinker.

In that moment, Trump showed the world that he has no appetite for ending what some see as state-sanctioned executions of Black men that are seen by millions as just as insidious as the mass school shootings that happen all too regularly.

This is the same president who did everything in his power, without a shred of evidence, to keep alive the racist lie that former President Barack Obama was not an American citizen, and who was twice sued in federal court for housing discrimination. Almost 30 years ago, before the start of the trial, Trump took out a full-page add calling for the death penalty of five Black men accused of raping a white woman in Central Park in New York City. Those men were exonerated but Trump never apologized.

This is just a small sampling of the president’s demonstrated animosity toward people who don’t look like him but there is so much more: A Mexican-American judge can’t be be fair; women such as Carly Fiorina running for office are publicly mocked for their looks; and white supremacists chanting in the streets “Jews will not replace us” are given a pass.

Eagles rookie running back Corey Clement didn’t say whether he was going to the White House when he spoke with CBSlocal.com. However, the South Jersey native showed a respectable level of intellectual curiosity for someone who has never been when he said he wanted to “view the history, see the culture and see what the White House really has to offer.”

My suggestion to Clement and any other member of the Eagles still undecided on the June 5 photo op is that you go online and learn as much about this White House and its culture, and then visit unannounced. But shaking hands and taking a picture with a man who has already shown you that you are nothing to him is a waste of your time.