New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced just hours before he was scheduled to visit President Donald Trump at the White House with his teammates on Wednesday that he would not be able to attend the Super Bowl victory ceremony due to “personal family matters.”
ESPN’s Mike Reiss provided Brady’s statement on why he could not attend the White House ceremony.
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today. Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember,” Brady said.
“In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters,” Brady added.
Brady went on to say that if the Patriots win a championship in future years, then they will be able to come back to to the South Lawn for another celebration.
This is not the first time that Brady has skipped the White House ceremony, as he skipped the trip to the Obama White House in 2014 when the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Brady attended all three of the Patriots’ three Super Bowl receptions under former President George W. Bush.
Brady is not the only Patriots player that will not be attending the ceremony: six of his teammates are rejecting the invitation, and at least four are doing so in protest of Trump and his policies.
Patriots safety and six-time captain Devin McCourty, defensive end Chris Long, tight end Martellus Bennett, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Alan Branch are the other players who have publicly stated that they won’t attend. Branch said he was planning to hang out with his family, while Hightower only said “been there, done that.”
Brady was asked in February for his opinion regarding players choosing not to attend the White House ceremony.
“Everybody has their own choice,” Brady said. “There’s 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.”
“It really is a great experience,” Brady said. “Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice.”
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