Since the election of Donald Trump, a number of high-profile athletes have vowed to avoid the White House at all costs — even if it means breaking with a century-old tradition.
With the New England Patriots’ incredible Super Bowl win Sunday night, and the traditional invitation to the White House sure to follow, it seemed the stage was set for any such players to make good on their promises.
Now, it appears that the Patriots’ presidential delegation will be at least one player shy this year, as outspoken tight end Martellus Bennett has made it clear that he won’t be making the trip:
Bennett — who controversially protested the national anthem prior to a game on September 11th — left no doubt about his intentions to visit the Trump White House, saying simply in a post-Super Bowl interview:
“I’m not going to go.”
Bennett didn’t get too deep into his reasoning for the decision, but added:
“I can elaborate later on in life; right now I am just trying to enjoy this. I haven’t really thought about it.
Like I said, it is what it is. People know how I feel about it, just follow me on Twitter.”
To that extent, Bennett hasn’t exactly been shy about expressing his thoughts about the commander-in-chief — from his recent executive order on immigration:
To comparing Trump to the “Dark Lord” from the Harry Potter novels following his meeting with rapper Kanye West:
Given that several other high-profile Patriots have expressed support for Trump in the past — including quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick, and owner Robert Kraft — Bennett’s announcement might make for some awkwardness at the next team meeting.
According to the player himself, though, he has nothing to worry about:
“I’m not worried about it at all.
It’s still like my beliefs, I think they [the Patriots] believe whatever I want to do, they believe in that.”
Alternatively, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has criticized outspoken players who have said they’ll skip any potential meeting with Trump, calling it “an opportunity that most citizens who have a political point of view would kill for — the opportunity to directly tell the president of the United States how they feel about an issue.”
Still, while it looks like Bennett will now become the first athlete to officially boycott the Trump White House, it seems pretty likely that he won’t be the last.