President Donald Trump has cancelled the annual Super Bowl champions' White House visit after most players from the winning team did not want to attend.
He said the Philadelphia Eagles players disagreed with his view "that they proudly stand for the National Anthem".
But team members have not confirmed this is the reason they are boycotting.
Mr Trump has repeatedly criticised NFL players over the past two years who have knelt to protest against police treatment of African Americans.
According to the Associated Press news agency, no Eagles player knelt during the anthem in 2017.
The Eagles team posted on Twitter that they were "grateful for all of the support" and looking forward to the 2018 season, without mentioning the invite row.
But one player, Malcolm Jenkins, said he wanted "to avoid being used as any kind of pawn".
The NFL voted in May to make players on the pitch stand for the anthem.
"The Philadelphia Eagles are unable to come to the White House with their full team to be celebrated tomorrow," Mr Trump said in a statement on Monday.
"They disagree with their president because he insists that they proudly stand for the national anthem, hand on heart, in honour of the great men and women of our military and the people of our country."
He added "1,000 fans planning to attend the event deserve better" than the smaller delegation.
"These fans are still invited to the White House to be part of a different type of ceremony - one that will honour our great country, pay tribute to the heroes who fight to protect it, and loudly and proudly play the National Anthem."
Before the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl in February, several players had suggested they would skip the White House event that is typically held for American sports teams after winning championships.
In a statement, the White House said Tuesday's event was changed after "the vast majority of the Eagles team decided to abandon their fans".
The White House said the team had requested to reschedule the original event, but that the president would have been overseas for the dates they proposed.
"The White House, despite sensing a lack of good faith, nonetheless attempted to work with the Eagles over the weekend to change the event format that could accommodate a smaller group of players.
"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."
Last year the president disinvited the National Basketball Association (NBA) champions, the Golden State Warriors, after its star player, Stephen Curry, suggested he might not attend a White House event honouring the team