It hasn’t even been a week since the New England Patriots became Super Bowl LI champions, and already six Patriots players have declined the team’s inevitable invitation to the White House.
As The Blaze reported, so far, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive back Devin McCourty, and tight end Martellus Bennett have all revealed that they will not be going to the White House for various reasons.
Like Bennett and McCourty, Blount will not be meeting with the president because he does not feel “welcome” or “accepted”:
"I will NOT be going to the White House. I don't feel welcome in that house. I'll leave it at that." –@LG_Blount
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 9, 2017
On the other hand, some players are simply not going because they had either “planned on skipping” the event or would rather spend time with their families, like quarterback Tom Brady did when the Patriots visited former President Barack Obama after their win in 2015.
Now Brady is sending a poignant message to his fans on social media:
This is why we love sports, right? No dogma, no blind faith, no rules you have to buy into — just attendance. Show up, and miracles happen. People of every race, religion, ethnicity, political POV and lifestyle share a singular experience for a few hours and become one.
Could this be a message to his teammates who have decided to forego meeting President Trump? It’s not exactly clear.
Tom Brady and Donald Trump have been friends for years. pic.twitter.com/ObNZm0evH8
— The TRUMP PAGE (@MichaelDelauzon) February 6, 2017
It will be interesting, however, to see if Brady will decide to celebrate his fifth Super Bowl victory at the White House or if he will follow the other six Patriots who have already declined.
And if the number of players not attending continues to grow, ProFootballTalk asks the question: Will the White House cancel the championship visit all together?
Only time will tell.