Six New England Patriots Now Intend to Skip White House Ceremony

Star quarterback Tom Brady is also reportedly friends with Trump, though he has largely refrained from sharing his political opinions, according to Sports Illustrated. "I'm not going to the White House", he told Time in a text message. "I'm not going to go", he said.

The Patriots defensive end said the decision was his own and not influenced by others, including his teammates who also refuse to attend. Long was like (I'm paraphrasing here), "uh, I wasn't planning on it?"

"If you really just hash it out and think in a little bit of nuance, I think you'll understand why (I'm not going)", Long said. But most likely no, because I don't support the guy that's in the house'. As does Alan Branch.

For the most part, however, the rest of New England's players stayed quiet about politics.

Bennett, meanwhile, has always been an outspoken advocate for minorities, women and education. Bennett has been notoriously outspoken about Trump, joking he might move to outer space after Trump was elected. But when asked about Brady's connections, Bennett deflected. Belichick keeps things apolitical and simply said he has a friendship with Trump. "I'm just gonna leave it at that".

The news that the six players will turn down the invitation has dominated and divided the news pages in the USA since the Patriots' Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday. In December, he chimed in on WEEI.com's report about President Donald Trump considering ex-Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine for United States Ambassador to Japan. When New England won, many compared it to election night.

However, unlike the other players who have turned down the invitation, Long is white and hails from a wealthy family with a father who is a football Hall of Famer and present-day TV commentator. Instead, they chose to exercise their rights. The biggest story from the trip might be which players aren't there. The numbers of players who've said they won't go to Washington D.C.to meet President Donald Trump continues to grow. In recent years, Hightower has been key for the defense, and his value was shown in the Super Bowl.

  • Julie Sanders