Sports teams have been going to the White House to meet the president for many years. This tradition began on August 30, 1865, when the Brooklyn Athletics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs visited Andrew Johnson. The New England Patriots were to uphold this tradition this year by visiting President Trump today, as tradition states as they were this year’s Super Bowl winners. There were many players absent from the meeting, though.
Even the team’s quarterback, Tom Brady, announced that he would not be able to attend due to “family reasons.” Another player, Martellus Bennett, the team’s tight end, appeared on Chelsea Handler’s talk show instead of making the trip to the White House today.
However, other notable players also did not show, either, for the meeting or the photo opportunity that would also occur for various reasons, some of which question Trump’s morality. The team’s running back, LeGarrette Blount, said to a radio show host that he did not feel as if he were welcome in the White House. Another Patriot player, Alan Branch, reportedly informed The Boston Globe that he would not attend this event because the Access Hollywood tape done on Trump horrified him due to the sexual assault claims and jokes that are made in it.
Other players came out with videos of why they did not want to go to this event. Specifically, Devin McCourty and Chris Long stated that they would protest the tradition with life-long Patriots fans at their sides. They also talked about what this team means to them, how they feel about their comeback win for the Super Bowl, and how they generally do not support Trump.
McCourty states in the video that he was not going to go because “it was something I had thought about before we had even won the game . . . For me it was simple, I don’t want to exclude other people.”
Long questions whether or not Trump’s legacy will affect his child’s future. He said in the video that he does not want his son to question his going to the event once the boy grows up by asking, “Hey, dad, why did you go when you knew the right thing was not to go?” This statement is based on previous claims Long makes in the aforementioned video that states the president’s legacy “is going to be what it is.” He does not specifically point out or detail what he believes that legacy will be in the long run, but he is concerned about how it will affect future lives of the young people in our country.
Some fans in the video also had some main factors to point out in defense of those team members who would not attend the meeting. One fan points out that, “Massachusetts was one of two states in the entire country where not a single count was won by Trump.”
Another fan states that the misogyny and racism are “not okay” and does not sit well with him. Another female fan states that she is concerned about how Trump does not act as a role model for children because of his actions and statements. She believes these actions will negatively affect her community, if not the community of other parts of the United States. It is clear that many Patriot fans do not have a concern with the Trump’s political aspects. Instead, they are concerned about morality.
Only about seven players stated ahead of time that they would not make the journey to this event, and they would no more be willing to uphold tradition. In total, almost half of the team did not make the trek to Washington, D.C. this morning. Fans in the aforementioned video thanked players for not supporting this event for many reasons. They believe these players are role models for upholding belief in things such as democracy, equality for all, diversity, and protecting the environment. They state all of this can be achieved through love and “letting people be who they are.” The overall message of these fans is to simply “Be Patriots” and to stand by the team members who did not attend this traditional event.