Six members of the 2016-17 Super Bowl champion Patriots don’t intend to visit the White House. Running back LaGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Alan Branch, line backer Dont’a Hightower, tight end Martellus Bennett, and safety Devin McCourty are the players who revealed this week they don’t plan to meet with the controversial President of the United States, Donald Trump. It’s worth noting that the president has close relationships with quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick, and team owner Robert Kraft.
In the case of Bennett, McCourty, Long, and Blount, they have cited the current president as the main reason as to why they don’t intend to visit. “I just don’t feel welcome in that house. I’m just going to leave it at that,” Blount said in a radio interview this week.
Bennett and McCourty have been hard critics of Trump for awhile, with Bennett posting his dislike for the president multiple times on social media. The two players also raised their fists in protest during the national anthem before a game this season. “It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter,” Bennett said after revealing his intention not to visit the White House. McCourty told Time Magazine “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 fell accepted there while others won’t.”
Long revealed on Twitter Thursday his intention not to attend after receiving an open letter from Chuck Modiano, a writer for The New York Daily News. In the letter, Modiano urged Long to publicly refuse the invitation to the White House. Shortly after receiving the letter, Long tweeted out “Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call.”
As for Hightower, he said he doesn’t feel like going because he has already visited it before when his Alabama team won the college football championship. Hightower didn’t attend the trip to D.C. in 2015 when the Patriots won that Super Bowl as well, citing the same reason. Branch said he doesn’t plan to attend because he wants to spend time with his family.
A 7th Patriots player may end up not going to the White House as well. Super Bowl LI hero James White revealed that he has not made up his mind of whether or not to go yet. Due to the multiple sexist and xenophobic comments made by Donald Trump during his presidential campaign as well as after the election have drawn criticism from many different athletes and coaches. Assuming the president remains in office for the next four years, it may become common for more athletes, especially the more diverse ones, to refuse to visit the White House due to their opinions on President Trump.