BOSTON (CBS) — President Barack Obama welcomed the Super Bowl-champion New England Patriots to the White House on Thursday, honoring the team for being “as good an organization as there has ever been in professional sports.”
In the midst of that praise, the president worked in a wisecrack about the still-unsolved mystery known as DeflateGate.
“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events,” Obama said, “but with the Patriots in town, I was afraid that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat.”
A number of Patriots players laughed at Obama’s joke, while head coach Bill Belichick gave a visible thumbs-down sign.
“I told him to keep his shirt on,” Obama said of Gronkowski. “He asked me what would happen if he took it off. I told him Secret Service probably wouldn’t like it. He said ‘What could they do to me?’”
The president also credited “Gronkowski just being Gronkowski” as a reason for the Patriots’ winning the Super Bowl.
After the event, Gronkowksi was asked why he was not in full-on party mode.
“Yeah, you know, if they put some tunes on, I would’ve booked out some dance moves, but Chandler [Jones] wasn’t singing, he usually sings. Julian [Edelman] usually does the beat boxing, but they were scared, so there was no dancing today, baby.”
Gronkowski was then informed that music could be played, if he’d like.
“No. There’s no drinking,” Gronkowski said. “Maybe the president was being wasted, but … from his deflate joke.”
Gronkowski looked over his shoulder at Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft before adding, “We’re still wondering as an organization about that, right?”
After not getting much of a response, Gronkowski spoke about his experience visiting the White House.
“It’s actually an honor to come here to the White House. I’ve never been here, personally,” Gronkowski said. “Just to be with such a great organization and come to the heart of America, of the United States of America, it’s just an unbelievable honor. I’m very humbled about it, and it’s just a great, great experience to be a part of it.”