Carolina Panthers

Panthers WR on Twitter: President Trump's Eagles visit cancellation a 'cowardly act'

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith (11) tweeted about "lies" in President Trump's news release announced the cancellation of a visit to the White House by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Smith was traded to the Panthers by the Eagles this spring.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith (11) tweeted about "lies" in President Trump's news release announced the cancellation of a visit to the White House by the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Smith was traded to the Panthers by the Eagles this spring. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith took President Donald Trump to task Monday after he pulled the plug on the Eagles’ White House visit, tweeting that the President’s reasoning for rescinding the visit was filled with “so many lies.”

Trump issued a statement canceling Tuesday’s scheduled trip by the reigning Super Bowl champions, saying Eagles players “disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart, in honor of the great men and women of our country.”

But Smith took exception with Trump’s statement, pointing out on Twitter that the Eagles planned to send a smaller contingent to Washington for reasons that extend beyond the anthem debate.

“So many lies smh,” Smith tweeted. “Here are some facts 1. Not many people were going to go 2. No one refused to go simply because Trump “insists” folks stand for the anthem 3. The President continues to spread the false narrative that players are anti military(.)”

In another tweet Smith posted: “It’s a cowardly act to cancel the celebration because the majority of the people don’t want to see you. To make it about the anthem is foolish(.)”

Smith was a starter on an Eagles team that beat New England 41-33 in Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis. Philadelphia was arguably the league’s most socially active team, although none of its players kneeled or sat during the anthem.

The Panthers traded for Smith in March, and the eight-year veteran has not shied away from sharing his views on a team that was mostly muted on political issues under former owner Jerry Richardson.

Last week Smith sounded off on the NFL’s new anthem policy, which requires players to stand if they’re on the field for the anthem while giving them the option to remain in the locker room.

Teams whose players choose to sit or kneel during the anthem will be subject to fines. Teams can in turn fine players and other personnel for violating the policy.

“You’re disappointed but not surprised, because at the end of the day, the league is all about money. It’s a business,” Smith said last week. “But to try to silence guys when they’re trying to do the right thing for our country, I don’t really know what to say about it.”

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson
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