Tom Brady On Patriots Teammates Skipping White House Visit: ‘That’s Their Choice’
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has said he respects some of his teammates’ decision to skip the White House visit following the team’s Super Bowl LI victory.
Tom Brady Says Patriots Teammates Skipping White House Is ‘Their Choice’
Brady and President Donald Trump are reportedly close friends who have played golf together, although six other Patriots have said they will pass on the visit because they don’t support Trump.
Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch and Dont’a Hightower have each confirmed that they will not be at the White House, although not each cited Trump as the reason.
“With the President having so many strong opinions and prejudices,” McCourty said previously. “I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
Brady did not attend the Patriots’ 2015 visit to the White House when Barack Obama was president, although the quarterback has stated his decision to skip that visit had nothing to do with politics.
“Everybody has their own choice,” Brady said on ProFootballTalk Live on Tuesday. “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.”
The Patriots won three Super Bowls during George W. Bush’s tenure as president, and Brady also went to the White House in college during the Bill Clinton era when Michigan won the national championship in 1997.
“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.”
Patriots owner Robert Kraft– who along with Brady and coach Bill Belichick were mentioned as close friends by Trump in speeches during the 2016 presidential campaign– remarked on this year’s White House visit on The Today Show on Monday.
“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 show. “This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention.”
No date has been set for the Patriots’ visit to the White House, but it figures to happen sometime between late-April and June.
Brady, 39, also said recently in an interview with Peter King of Sports Illustrated’s The MMQB that he would like to continue playing football until his mid-40s.
HOUSTON, TX – FEBRUARY 05: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium on February 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)