Former Cowboys fullback and current FOX announcer Daryl Johnston won three Super Bowls during the Clinton presidency, and this week he weighed in on why he thinks Super Bowl winners should visit the White House. Unfortunately, Johnston seemed to miss the point about why so many Eagles players declined to meet President Trump this week, resulting in Trump canceling a ceremony to honor the Super Bowl winners.
Johnston wrote on Twitter that he disagreed with Clinton politically, but that he attended the White House because he thought any meeting with the president was an honor.
“I did not vote for Bill Clinton and I did not agree with most of his policies. But when he extended an invitation to our TEAM to visit the White House to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship I was honored to attend and meet the President of the United States,” Johnston wrote.
But what Johnston doesn’t seem to grasp is that the Eagles aren’t saying they don’t want to visit Trump’s White House because they do “not agree with most of his policies.” In fact, when Eagles players first started saying in February that they wouldn’t visit the White House, they made clear that it was not about politics.
Eagles defensive end Chris Long was outraged by Trump saying there were “very fine people on both sides” of a rally that saw a white supremacist terrorist kill a woman protesting against racism in Long’s hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. Long wrote on Twitter that the questions he had for Trump weren’t about public policy: “Who were the fine people on the side of the Nazis and KKK that gathered in my hometown the day a terrorist put 20 ppl in the hospital? Why reference the hatred and bigotry on ‘many sides’ that day? Why didn’t you immediately denounce them?” Long wrote. “I already know the answer. None of that is political.”
Receiver Torrey Smith also said his decision not to visit the White House went beyond policy.
“For me, it’s not just about politics,” Smith said. “This isn’t something that I personally feel inclined to be involved with. . . . I respect the office, but often times we hold our athletes and entertainers to higher standards than we hold the President of the United States. To me it’s about doing the right thing, it’s not about choosing sides or anything, it’s simply about right and wrong.”
Other players have objected to the way Trump referred to NFL players who kneel during the anthem as “sons of bitches” and the way Trump has used the NFL to sow division. Those are fundamentally different issues than simple policy disagreements.
Johnston is free to think the Eagles should have visited the White House, but he shouldn’t suggest that the players who wouldn’t visit Trump were motivated by policy disagreements. The Eagles’ players made clear that their differences with Trump are deeper than that.