The New England Patriots head to the White House Wednesday for their visit with President Donald Trump after their Superbowl victory. But the entire team won’t be there — at least six players have said they will not attend, four of whom cite politics as the reason. Some wonder if a well-deserved victory should be over shadowed by politics.
Former Patriots defensive end Chris Long — recently signed by the Philadelphia Eagles — said in a recent YouTube interview, “When my son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is, I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey dad, why’d you go when you knew the right thing was to not go?’”
Fans like Gail O’Brien of Hyde Park are chiming in on whether the White House visit should be politicized.
“I don’t think they should protest," O'Brien said. "I think they should keep it separate and they should acknowledge that they won and celebrate it.”
But Felicia Amarial of Fall River says the players are free to protest,
“It’s their right, absolutely, if they feel strongly enough," Amarial said. "They may have their reasons — personal or otherwise."
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who missed the White House visit the last time the team won, will be at the White House this time. Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft have some ties to President Donald Trump. However, Tom Brady told NBC Sports Radio that his absence at the White House several years ago was not a slight to then-President Barack Obama.
“Everybody has their own choice," Brady said in the interview. "There’s certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go, and then didn’t get the opportunity based on the scheduling.”
Most people we spoke to, like Jim Davis of Millis, agree it’s a free country and people, including Patriots players, are free to make choices — but a celebration of the most coveted win in the NFL is not the place for it.
“I don’t think it should be politicized at all, not one single bit," Davis said. "Just accept what the president has to offer and do it joyfully. I don’t think players should be boycotting.”
Some believe that if treated otherwise, the visit becomes more about who is in the White House than the teamwork that got the team there.