Just a few dozen dedicated Eagles fans rallied outside City Hall Tuesday afternoon following President Donald Trump’s decision to cancel the Super Bowl champions’ White House visit.
Earlier in the day, Trump accused the team of “abandoning” the fans because only a few players were planning to attend the event.
Mary Velez said she was at City Hall to defend her team.
“My first instinct was, ‘Wait a minute. A lot of players from the Patriots last year declined a visit to the White House.’ But guess what? They didn’t cancel it,” said Velez who came with her daughter Ellen. “And I did vote for Trump. But I just feel like we’re always going to be the one that no one likes us kind of thing. And I just think that he’s just another added name.”
[Nearly 60 percent of the Patriots players attended the White House event last year, but notable stars such as Tom Brady did not.]
Velez was undeterred by the small turnout, saying it was enough to show the team fans are behind them.
“This team is still not getting respect, and that’s what it comes down to,” she said.
David Caplan, an owner of the restaurant Tria, is not a fan of the president. He said he showed up to support the team members for what they do off the field
“They did not kneel for the anthem. They prayed, they do community service, they try to facilitate racial equality and do things to help the community. And that should be celebrated no matter what,” said Caplan. “I don’t think Trump has ever had a team. He just likes whatever is popular.”
Melissa Amilani was also there to support her team – and her friend, Mark Rud, who organized the event.
She blamed the small turnout on the rally’s short notice, but she said she was proud of Mayor Jim Kenney for his comments on the president’s rescinding his invitation to the White House.
“I’m glad he stuck his neck out there for us,” she said.
Amilani said the response to the president hinted at Philly’s underdog mentality.
“Philadelphia has its own swagger,” she said. “We don’t take sh-t from anybody and certainly not this president.”