After winning his fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday responded to the fact that several of his players won’t be joining the team to visit the White House.
So far, Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, and a handful of other players have said they won’t accompany their teammates for the traditional White House visit in the coming months.
But Kraft said there’s something very “interesting” about the media coverage the statement has garnered this year:
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“Well, you know what’s interesting, this is our, I’m happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years,” Kraft said on the Today Show Monday. “And every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention.”
Kraft went on to cite the freedom that America gives its citizens to “do whatever’s best for us.”
“You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they’re on national championship teams, others have family commitments,” he added. “But this is America. We’re all free to do whatever’s best for us. We’re just privileged to be in a position to be going.”
At least three of the players, McCourty, Bennett and Blount, have said President Donald Trump is the reason they won’t go to the White House.
In 2015, Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady skipped the team’s White House visit due to a previously planned “family commitment.” There was some speculation that the snub may have been politically motivated, but never any proof.