Tom Brady is skipping the New England Patriots visit to the White House today when the team meets with President Trump to celebrate their Super Bowl championship.
This event is the traditional ceremony where the Super Bowl winners get to interact with the president, whoever happens to occupy the office at that moment. The event is scheduled to start at 1:20 p.m. Eastern time. President Trump is likely to heap praise on Brady during his public comments today.
Led by Future Hall of Famer Brady, the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51 by a score of 34-28 in overtime, after trailing 21-3 at halftime and 28 to 3 into the third quarter, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history.
The Patriots and the Falcons met at NRG Stadium in Houston on February 5, 2017, in the title matchup in what for the Pats, and Tom Brady in particular, was the culmination of the two-year DeflateGate revenge tour, In so doing, the Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl.
Several other Pats players have declined to attend, mainly for political reasons. They are LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Dont’a Hightower, Martellus Bennet, and Devin McCourty.
Brady and Trump are longtime pals, however, and seemed to trigger sportswriters back in September 2015 when the media spotted a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker room.
President Trump Team is also good friends with team owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick.
The superstar quarterback was careful to avoid making any endorsements during the 2016 presidential campaign, repeatedly stressing that his relationship with Trump was a based on friendship alone. He often ducked any questions about political support or for whom he voted.
“Brady did visit the White House with the Michigan Wolverines after their 1997 national championship win, as well as the Patriots’ first three Super Bowl victories. His absence from this visit is particularly notable, however, given his relationship with President Donald Trump,” FoxSports recalled.
Brady says his reason for not attending today’s White House ceremony, announced at the last minute, is for unspecified family reasons. It has been widely reported that his mom, a California resident, has been ill with cancer for some time, and she is currently visiting Brady in Boston.
Also citing family reasons, Tom Brady declined to visit the Obama White House in 2015.
Tom Brady gave ESPN the following statement today about not going to the White House, which seems to leave the door open for future visits to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue should one or more additional NFL titles be in the Patriots’ future.
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today. Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all very proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as as long as I can remember. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”
Tom Brady is not attending White House ceremony today due to "personal family matters." His statement: pic.twitter.com/OIidVZX3VV
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 19, 2017
There is some speculation that Tom Brady is not going to White House because he wants to avoid any backlash in celebrity circles where President Trump is very unpopular, even though the president mixed with celebrities during his long, pre-politics career in the media spotlight. Brady previously remarked that it is up to individual players as to how they want to spend their offseason time, CBS Sports noted. “You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice,” he said.
Since the New England Patriots are a virtual lock to make the playoffs while Brady, 39, is the signal caller, given the otherwise weak AFC East, the team may be back at the White House sooner rather than later.
The White House visit by the New England Patriots without Tom Brady also comes on the day where former Pats star Aaron Hernandez apparently committed suicide in his jail cell in Shirley, Massachusetts. Recently found not guilty of a double murder, Hernandez was serving a life sentence for the murder of Odin Lloyd, a conviction which is on appeal.
Added: Watch President Trump welcome the New England Patriots to the White House.
[Featured Image by Gregory Payan/AP Image]