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White House: Philadelphia Eagles 'Decided To Abandon Their Fans'

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) -- The White House claims the Philadelphia Eagles abandoned their fans when they tried to reschedule their visit to meet President Donald Trump to celebrate the team's Super Bowl victory.

According to the White House, the Eagles notified them on May 31 that 81 people, including players, coaches, management and personnel would attend the White House event.

"On Friday, the Secret Service cleared them for participation. These individuals, along with more than 1,000 Eagles fans, were scheduled to attend the event," according to the White House.

However, last Friday, the White House says the Eagles reached out to reschedule the event after citing that many players would not be in attendance. The White House says Trump would be overseas on the dates the Eagles proposed.

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They say they worked with the organization over the weekend to change the event format.

"Unfortunately, the Eagles offered to send only a tiny handful of representatives, while making clear that the great majority of players would not attend the event, despite planning to be in D.C. today. In other words, the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans," the White House said in a statement.

Sources tell CBS3 that only a handful of players were planning on attending.

On Monday, Trump canceled the team's White House visit, citing the controversy over the National Anthem.

"Staying in the Locker Room for the playing of our National Anthem is as disrespectful to our country as kneeling. Sorry!" Trump tweeted Tuesday — even though none of the Super Bowl champion Eagles had taken a knee during the anthem in 2017.

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The Eagles released a statement on Monday night without mentioning the canceled White House visit.

"It has been incredibly thrilling to celebrate our first Super Bowl Championship. Watching the entire Eagles community come together has been an inspiration. We are truly grateful for all of the support we have received and we are looking forward to continuing our preparations for the 2018 season," the team said.

The White House is now holding a "Celebration of America" event with 1,000 Eagles fans and performances by United States Marine Band and the United States Army Chorus on Tuesday afternoon.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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