Star QB Tom Brady to miss NFL champs' visit to White House

Bruno Cirelli
Aprile 21, 2017

While some players stayed away in protest, the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots on Wednesday made the traditional visit to the White House where team owner Robert Kraft lauded his longtime friend, President Donald Trump, and likened his long-shot victory to the Patriots' own.

A number of Patriots skipped the ceremony, including superstar quarterback Tom Brady, who said he was spending time with his cancer-stricken mom, and wide receiver Danny Amendola, who was at a friend's funeral.

Tight end Martellus Bennett, who signed with the Green Bay Packers this offseason, was the first to say before the Super Bowl he would sit out any such celebration, citing his opposition to many of Trump's positions. He announced Wednesday morning that he would miss it because of "personal family matters".

The visit was the first for the Trump administration under the age-old tradition of champions visiting the White House.

"I think I got this, but thank you", Spicer replied with a smile. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they're on national championship teams, others have family commitments.

During the ceremony, Trump further explained Bill Belichick writing him a letter in which he read to a New Hampshire crowd the night before the election. It was the team's fifth Super Bowl victory since 1960.

The visit happened hours after a former Patriots star and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead in prison after hanging himself with a bedsheet in his cell.

While that is likely the main reason Brady did not make the trip to the White House, his wife presented another theory with a Wednesday tweet that she has since deleted.

The 27-year-old cornerback Malcolm Butler, meanwhile, is heading back up to New England later this week after celebrating a family birthday. "I don't support the guy that's in the (White) House", he said.

A team spokesman said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez's death but the club wasn't expected to comment. Several players were asked about Hernandez's death after the White House ceremony, but they declined to answer.

Devin McCourty, a team captain, agreed, telling Time magazine: "Basic reason for me is I don't feel accepted in the White House".

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