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Philadelphia Eagles players kiss the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII in February. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

President Trump announced in a statement Monday night that the Philadelphia Eagles will not be attending the traditional White House visit to celebrate their Super Bowl LII because the players refuse to stand for the national anthem:

"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow. They disagree with their President because he insists that they proudly stand for the National Anthem, hand on heart..."
— President Trump

Response, from former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Torrey Smith, who had planned to skip the celebration prior to Trump's Monday night statement:

"So many lies smh. 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 ... There are a lot of people on the team that have plenty of different views. The men and women that wanted to go should’ve been able to go. 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 on Twitter

Timing: The statement comes less than two weeks after the NFL announced a new policy requiring players on the field to stand while the national anthem is played. The decision, a hot-button issue amongst NFL owners last season, was a significant win for Trump.

Flashback: Last year, several Patriots decided to skip the White House Super Bowl celebration, citing their opposition to Trump.

Full statement:

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Technology

AI could end foreign-language subtitles

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

AI companies are developing methods to translate and synthesize voices in ads, movies and TV.

Why it matters: The advances in voice synthesis could help fix bad movie dubbing — and they come as international content is becoming increasingly important to studios and streaming platforms as part of the globalization of entertainment.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 12 hours ago - Technology

A dark view of the future of autonomous weapons

A still from the video "If Human: Kill ( )." Image: Future of Life Institute

A new short film warns of the coming risks posed by the development and proliferation of lethal autonomous weapons.

Why it matters: Drones with the ability to autonomously target and kill without the assistance of a human operator are reportedly already being used on battlefields, and time is running out to craft a global ban of what could be a destabilizing and terrifying new class of weapon.

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