PHILADELPHIA -- Safety Malcolm Jenkins, defensive end Chris Long and wide receiver Torrey Smith are among the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles who will decline an invitation to the White House if President Donald Trump offers one.
"Going to the White House should be seen as an honor, and I believe it is an honor, but to me it has to be an honor with the right type of respect in office. I just don't see it," Smith said.
"It's not about politics; I just don't think the president is a good person. I don't want to go out of my way to go see someone who isn't even welcoming the men in this locker room and our different cultures."
Jenkins, Long and Smith have been three of the NFL's most active players in working for social change. All three are members of the Players Coalition, which partnered with the NFL on an initiative in which the league will contribute $89 million over seven years to projects dealing with criminal justice reform, law enforcement/community relations and education.
The three Eagles visited Harrisburg during the season to meet with Pennsylvania legislators about various bills related to criminal justice reform.
"I don't want to take away from anybody's experience or make it a big distraction. It's a celebratory event, and I want the guys who choose to go or whatever to enjoy that," Jenkins said of a White House visit. "Me personally, because it's 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've been meeting with legislators, both Republican and Democrat, it don't matter. If you want to meet to talk about events in my community, changing the country, I'm all for that. But this isn't one of those meetings, so I'll opt out of the photo opportunity."
Trump withdrew his invitation to the Golden State Warriors after Stephen Curry and others said they would rather not attend following their NBA championship. It is to be determined whether the Eagles get an invite. If they do, Smith expects it to be more than just three players who opt out.
"If they send that invitation, I don't know if it's going to be the most popular party in the world," Smith said. "If he doesn't invite us, that's always a possibility, but if he does, I'm sure there are some guys who want that experience and they deserve to have that experience, in my opinion."