The number of NFL champion New England Patriots on record with plans to boycott Donald Trump’s White House now tops the number of Super Bowl rings owned by Tom Brady.
Shutdown Corner reports the number now stands at six and possibly growing. As it stands, that’s more than 10 percent of the champ’s total 53-man roster.
Tight end Martellus Bennett was the first one to express his dissent with the new Republican president, announcing right around the time that the Patriots were clinching their 34-28, come-from-behind overtime win over the Atlanta Falcons that he would essentially be taking a knee on the entire proceedings.
“I am not going to go,” Bennett, a huge supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement previously told reporters. “I can elaborate later on in life; right now I am just trying to enjoy this… People know how I feel about it, just follow me on Twitter.”
According to CNN, Bennett later added he really isn’t too concerned about owner Robert Kraft’s thoughts on his stance and apparently many of his teammates feel the same way.
Thus far, safety Devin McCourty, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive tackle Alan Brach have all joined him in his boycott plans.
“I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” said McCourty, with Blount pretty much expressing those same sentiments during a recent visit on The Rich Eisen Show.
Meanwhile, Kraft, Brady and coach Bill Belichick are all known Trump supporters, though the latter two have largely steered clear of the subject of the new president since he took office nearly a month ago.
In that time, Trump has riled much of the country with some of his controversial policies and executive action decisions, which have included a ban on travelers from seven mostly Muslim nations. The ban was later ruled unconstitutional by a federal court judge and upheld by an appeal court judge.
While it’s debatable if all the absences are entirely based on political concerns, soon after the number of defections began to publicly swell, the Twitter account @RoguePotusStaff, which claims to be from within the White House, posted Trump was “irritated” at players saying they’d be absent from the event and planned to press Kraft “to cut them from the team.”
During his campaign run and thus far brief administration, Trump has made it a practice of lashing back out at those he feels have slighted him in some way.
Over the years, the annual White House visit for championship teams has become a part of the process, with the visits for the most part proving to be largely uneventful. That could all change this year with Trump at the podium.
During the regular NFL season, Bennett and McCourty raised their fist in solidarity during the playing of the national anthem to protest racism here in America. Fist raising has been synonymous with protest since the time of the Black Panthers and the whole Black Power movement of the 1960s.
At the same time, no pro sports team has been any more linked to Trump than New England, with Brady once displaying one of Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats in his locker stall during the height of his run against Democrat Hillary Clinton.
Just hours before polls opened in that hotly contested and often bitter race, Trump gleefully announced that he had the support of both Brady and Belichick.
And after pulling off his upset win, Trump shared at a pre-inaugural dinner that Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft had called to congratulate him.
While he did not deny it, Brady later played down the phone call and what exactly was said, glumly telling reporters, “I call a lot of people.”
[Featured Image by Mario Tama/Getty Images]