- Charlie Riedel/AP
With more and more members of the New England Patriots announcing that they would not visit the Trump White House to celebrate their recent Super Bowl 51 victory, Tom Brady on Tuesday suggested that it was worth putting politics aside and embracing the experience.
“It really is a great experience,” Brady told Pro Football Talk. “Putting politics aside, it never really was a political thing. At least, it never was for me. It was just always something that was a privilege to be able to do because it really meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice.”
As of Tuesday, six members of the Patriots have said publicly that they will not make the trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Along with Martellus Bennett, who before the Super Bowl said he wouldn’t go if his team won and then doubled down on it after the victory, Devin McCourty, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, and Dont’a Hightower have all confirmed they will not go. Of those, all but Branch and Hightower cited the Trump administration as the motivating factor.
Brady does not have a perfect White House attendance record. After he won his fourth ring, he skipped visiting the Obama White House because of what he said was a scheduling conflict.
“Everybody has their own choice,” Brady said on Tuesday. “There are certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go and didn’t get the opportunity based on the schedule. We didn’t get told until I think like 10 days before we were going, and at that point I had something I’d been planning for months and couldn’t get there.”
On Monday, Patriots owner Robert Kraft said he did not understand why the White House visit had become national news.
“Every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go,” Kraft said on the “Today” show. “This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention.”
Of course, the Patriots are the first team to win a championship under the Trump administration, and they are closely intertwined with the 45th president. Over the weekend, Kraft dined with Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump’s Mar-A-Lago club in Florida.