Several players boycott team’s visit to White House
On Wednesday, April 19 President Donald Trump invited the New England Patriots to visit the White House for the annual Super Bowl victory celebration.
However, not every Patriots player accepted his invitation, as two-dozen players opted out of the ceremony.
Head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Craft attended the ceremony, in addition to 34 players.
The celebration took place on the South Lawn of the White House.
This number was a lower turnout than the previous Patriots Super Bowl victory celebration in 2015 when Barack Obama was in office and 50 players attended.
During this year’s ceremony, Trump acknowledged the success of the team and singled out certain players who were in attendance.
“No team has been this good for this long,” Trump said during his speech.
Among those absent was quarterback Tom Brady, who opted out of the ceremony last minute due to “personal family matters.”
Other players vocalized their opposition to the Trump administration’s policies and opinions and declined the invitation as a result.
“I just don’t feel welcome in that house,” running back LeGarrette Blount said in a radio interview for “The Rich Eisen Show.”
Tight end Martellus Bennett and safety Devin McCourty, who did not attend, were seen raising their fists during the national anthem before a game during the 2017 season and also vocalized their reasons for not attending.
Brady skipped out on the previous ceremony during the Obama presidency as well and has been spotted with a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker.
However, his wife Gisele Bundchen publicly denied they support Trump several times.
Patriots’ spokesman Stacey James claims the reason for the majority of the absences is because players who have attended this ceremony before did not feel the need to attend a second or third time.
Politics aside, the chance to be welcomed to the White House and publicly acknowledged by the president of the United States should be an honor for anyone.
Players are free to hold personal opinions about the president, but the opportunity to have one’s skills and accomplishments acknowledged and celebrated before the citizens of the U.S. is what makes professional sports American.
The United States is a country which celebrates its unity, and the absence of players because of political disagreements only feeds the idea of division in this country.
The beauty of this country is that athletes are encouraged to hold their own opinions and are free to disagree with the Trump administration and its policies.
However, in a celebration such as this that has absolutely nothing to do with politics, I believe those who opted out passed up an amazing opportunity to represent the talent and skill of this country.
Drogan is an opinion writer.