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PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Fox News is apologizing for showing Philadelphia Eagles kneeling in prayer during a report about President Donald Trump canceling the team’s visit to the White House.
On Monday, Trump announced he was canceling the event for Eagles to celebrate their Super Bowl victory at the White House, citing the National Anthem controversy. During Fox News’ report, they showed Eagles players kneeling in prayer. No Eagles players kneeled during the anthem during the 2017 season.
“During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer,” Fox News said in a statement on Twitter. “To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error.”
The report drew the ire of Eagles’ Chris Long and Zach Ertz.
“This can’t be serious…. Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?! Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this,” Ertz tweeted.
Long tweeted that the network is “complicit in playing America.”
“Imagine wanting to please the boss so very badly that you run stills of guys knelt down PRAYING during pregame. Not one Eagles player knelt for the anthem this [year]. Keep carrying his water to sow division while misrepresenting Christian men,” Long said in a tweet.
Instead of hailing Eagles players for their work on the field and in their community, the White House is staging a “Celebration of America” featuring music provided by U.S. military bands and choruses.
Trump said in a statement Monday that some 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 military and the people of our country.”
He said the team wanted to send a smaller delegation Tuesday, but “the 1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better.”
Sources tell CBS3 that “less than a handful” of players signed up to go meet Trump.
Last week, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he would not attend the ceremony and participate in a group photo “to avoid being used as any kind of pawn.” In addition to Jenkins, Long was the most outspoken player against going. Quarterback Carson Wentz had planned to attend.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)