NFL Super Bowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles are planning to visit the White House in Washington.
Such ceremonial visits to the White House – once a highlight for all professional and collegiate teams that earned the invitation – have become fraught with controversy during United States president Donald Trump's time in office. For example, NBA champions the Golden State Warriors did not visit last year after Trump "uninvited" the team because of star Stephen Curry's comments.
The Houston Astros attended a ceremony last month honouring the MLB World Series champions.
Super Bowl winners in 2017, the New England Patriots attended, but there were noticeable no-shows. Two of those Patriots, defensive lineman Chris Long and running back LeGarrette Blount, played for the Eagles this season, and have already indicated they would not attend a White House ceremony, according to reports. Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins and wide receiver Torrey Smith also reportedly said they would not visit with the president.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the New York Times that the two sides have been talking about the "timing" of a visit.
"We have been in conversations with the Eagles about timing and are working with them to make it happen," Sanders said. "We hope to have something finalized in the next couple of weeks."
The Eagles issued a statement confirming talks are cantered around logistics.
"We have been in contact with White House representatives and are currently discussing the logistics of an upcoming visit to Washington," the statement read, via NJ Advance Media.
"We are honoured to receive this invitation and view this not only as an opportunity to be recognised for our on-field accomplishments, but also as an opportunity to engage in productive dialogue with the leaders of our country."
Such a ceremony would also present a challenge for Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, one of the more liberal owners in the league.
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