Pederson Attempts to Shut Down White House Controversy
PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - With over 50 reporters on hand and 10 hard cameras for a run-of-the-mill June OTA practice, Eagles coach Doug Pederson was put through the wringer one day after the team was scheduled to visit the White House.
After a brief opening statement designed to put the controversy in the rear-view mirror, the coach spoke for only about half the time he normally does after being inundated with follow-ups in the wake of President Donald Trump abruptly canceling the ceremony to honor the Super Bowl champions late Monday afternoon.
The White House then accused Jeffrey Lurie's team of a last-minute political stunt designed to embarrass the administration.
Pederson, however, was planning to visit the White House and admitted he was "looking forward to it" before doing his best to shut down the controversy.
"I'm not discussing it," the coach said. "What you've seen and what you've heard is enough and I'm not discussing it. I'm not going to stand here and discuss it because we got two OTA practices. I've got a mandatory camp next week and I'm focused on that."
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called pairing down a list of 81 players, coaches, management and support staff given to the Secret Service for clearance last Thursday to a handful of representatives by Monday by the Eagles was dirty pool by the organization.
“If this wasn’t a political stunt by the Eagles franchise, then they wouldn’t have planned to attend the event then backed out at the last minute," Sanders asked rhetorically at her press briefing on Tuesday. "They wouldn’t have attempted to reschedule the visit when they knew that the President was going to be overseas.
“If this wasn’t a political stunt, they wouldn’t have waited until Monday, when well after over 1,000 of their fans had traveled and taken time out of their schedules and offer only a tiny handful of representatives to attend the event.”
When Pederson was asked to explain the logistics of the traveling party from the Eagles' perspective by 973espn.com he did not confirm anything.
"It's over," the coach said. "It's behind us. We are moving on."
-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Want more NFL? Check out John's piece on why 'The Cleanse' in Cleveland was about more than losing at GetMoreSports.com