I said it from the beginning, as soon as the last “we don’t care” left Jason Kelce’s lips: The Philadelphia Eagles should have never expressed one yard of interest in going to Washington, DC. They could have gotten a nice glimpse of the White House back in September, after shellacking the Redskins in Week 1. This president doesn’t care about them. He hates reality. More importantly, he despises the NFL.
And his uninformed rhetoric has nothing to do with patriotism or flag rubbing. Fake news!
Donald Trump, the businessman, is holding a 32-year-old grudge against the NFL after his fledgling USFL was crushed. The USFL had gained momentum playing games in the spring, an innovative way to make professional football viable in the NFL’s offseason. That wasn’t enough.
“If God wanted football in the spring, he wouldn’t have created baseball,” Trump said.
Brash and arrogant, Trump pushed for the USFL to go head-to-head with the NFL in the fall. The ratings stunk. In short, he was fired from football. Better yet, he fired himself from football. Today, he is still trying to punish NFL owners while flailing his tiny alligator arms and crowing about the NFL never wanting him in their club. They didn’t. So sad!
It’s somewhat ironic that NFL players are protesting Trump’s beloved anthem by taking a knee, isn’t it? Because if simpleton Trump had his way, he would make those “sons of bitches” come to the White House — one by one, in a single-file line — to “bend the knee” in front of his colluding administration. That’s honoring America! Too bad it’s un-American.
This isn’t Westeros. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie doesn’t bend the knee to “disastrous” presidencies. Neither do high-caliber guys like Malcolm Jenkins and Chris Long and Brandon Graham – not to GOAT quarterbacks, not to Twitter trolls, and definitely not to false kings wearing Cheeto flakes as crowns. The Eagles are Super Bowl champions, not political pawns in a ridiculous ritual.
Don’t get me wrong. The “Star-Spangled Banner” is a beautiful song that can moisten even the most jaded liberal eye when played in the right context: During a Memorial Day service at Laurel Hill cemetery, yes. On the field, at a doggone football game, no.
Remember, it wasn’t mandatory to play the anthem at games until 2009, when “paid patriotism” conveniently became the norm. Prior to that – in another Trumpian twist of irony – players were expected to stay in the locker room, save for special occasions, like the Super Bowl.
(Hey, NFL, here is some free advice: just stop playing it. Period).
The 2017 Eagles embraced everything the football gods threw at them, accepting and conquering all challenges, without fear or consequence. They refused to give up and declined to give in. This team took on the rugged character of the city it calls home, something very rare in sports these days.
Their collective heartbeat, way louder and more impressive than the Giant Heart at the Franklin Institute, synchronized with an entire fan base, from Broad Street to Main Street.
And it’s still beating. Pa-pum. Pa-pum. Pa-pum.
When Trump cowardly disinvited the Super Bowl champions to the White House late Monday night, he said the “vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans.”
Wrong, loser. The vast majority of Eagles fans abandoned you.
What’s our battle cry again?
Oh right: We’re from Philly, fu*kin’ Philly. No one likes us. We don’t care.