New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady chose not to accompany his team on their visit to the White House.
The Patriots won the Super Bowl back in February and were scheduled to visit the White House on April 19 in order to celebrate their win, according to The New York Times. When the afternoon of the team's visit finally rolled around, at least 12 players were absent, including Brady.
The New York Times reports that, other than Brady, the missing players included the following: running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, tight end Martellus Bennett, and safety Devin McCourty.
Team captain McCourty made his decision all the way back in February.
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"I'm not going to the White House," McCourty said in a text message that was sent to Time. "Basic reason for me is I don't feel accepted in the White House. With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won't."
Blount and Bennett also cited political reasons for not visiting the White House.
In contrast to some of his teammates, Brady's decision to refrain from visiting the White House did not appear to be political. He issued a statement regarding his reasons on the morning of April 19, which was tweeted out by ESPN reporter Mike Reiss.
"I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today," Brady began. "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."
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"In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today's ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters," he continued. "Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!"
Although Brady never formally endorsed Trump, the two were linked throughout the president's campaign, according to The New York Times. Trump claimed to have Brady's support, and Brady was found to have a red "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker.
The team's visit also coincidentally fell on the day of the death of former Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez was convicted of having committed a first-degree murder in 2015 and was serving a life sentence in a prison in Massachusetts, according to The New York Times. Around 3 a.m. on the morning of April 19, he was found by prison officials to have hanged himself in his cell. Despite being rushed to a hospital, he was pronounced dead around 4 a.m.