New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will not be attending his team's April 19 visit to the White House, saying that he has "personal family matters" to attend to.
The Patriots will be attending a ceremony at the White House to celebrate their 34-28 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Feb. 5 in Super Bowl LI, according to the Bleacher Report. On the morning of the visit, ESPN's Mike Reiss released a statement on behalf of Brady, in which the Super Bowl MVP explains why he will not be attending:
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. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today's ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!
According to The New York Times, Brady also missed the Patriots' visit to the White House in 2015, also citing family issues.
Brady, however, isn't the only member of the team missing out on the team's visit with President Donald Trump. Running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty have all confirmed that they, too, will not be attending the ceremony.
While Branch says that he will be spending time with family, the other players announced that they will forego the ceremony for political reasons.
"I don’t feel accepted in the White House," said McCourty, who is also a team captain. "With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t."
Bennett and Blount cited similar reasons, saying that they are outspoken dissidents of the president.
Brady and Trump appear to have a friendly, albeit vague relationship. Although the quarterback has never explicitly endorsed Trump, a "Make America Great Again Hat" was found in his locker during the campaign.
Trump himself quoted Brady during a New Hampshire rally, saying that Brady told him "'Donald, I support you, you’re my friend and I voted for you.'"
Brady's wife, Gisele Bundchen, has denied that either of them were Trump supporters.