The New England Patriots visited the White House Wednesday, meeting President Donald Trump to celebrate their Super Bowl LI championship. While most of the players on the team were in attendance, a significant amount did not make their way to Washington D.C.
According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, 34 players were pictured in the team photo with Trump, as well as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. That leaves 19 members of the 53-man roster that weren’t in Washington D.C.
A few Patriots announced shortly after the team beat the Atlanta Falcons in the Super Bowl that they weren’t going to meet Trump. Running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Devin McCourty said they wouldn't make the visit because they didn't feel welcome in the White House. Tight end Martellus Bennett and defensive end Chris Long, who have since signed elsewhere as free agents, indicated that they wouldn’t make the trip because they were not fans of Trump.
Tom Brady, who has previously called Trump a friend, also skipped the trip, though it wasn’t because of political reasons. Brady released a statement saying he wouldn’t be in Washington D.C. because of “family matters.”
Daniels noted that among other Patriots missing from the White House were Malcolm Butler, Danny Amendola, Dion Lewis, James White and Dont’a Hightower.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 19, 2017
From that photo, it looks like these are the Patriots players not at the White House pic.twitter.com/GmQ1BCCNFZ
— Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) April 19, 2017
Among the Patriots that did make the trip to the White House were Julian Edelman, Jimmy Garoppolo and Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski interrupted White House press secretary Sean Spicer during his press briefing.
Trump and the Patriots have had a connection long before Wednesday's visit. Trump is friends with Brady, Belichick and Kraft, and he read a letter from New England’s head coach at one of his campaign rallies shortly before the election.
Skipping a team visit to the White House isn’t new for athletes. Brady did the same two years ago when the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in the Super Bowl and Barack Obama was in office.