BOSTON (CBS) — Tom Brady drew his share of scrutiny two years ago when he missed the Patriots’ White House visit after winning Super Bowl XLIX. Now, six of his teammates have publicly declared various reasons for their intention to avoid the White House after the team’s Super Bowl LI championship over the Falcons.
Naturally, Brady doesn’t have any issues with his teammates skipping the White House trip just like he did – regardless of their reasons.
Brady joined Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday to talk about the Patriots’ Super Bowl win and the coming offseason. The interview eventually turned to the topic of the White House and his teammates’ decisions to avoid the trip, some for political reasons. Brady made it clear that his absence in 2015 had nothing to do with politics, but has no problem with those who skip the White House trip for any reason.
“Putting politics aside, [skipping the White House] never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me,” said Brady. “It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody.
“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.”
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Alan Branch is among the Patriots players who said he plans on skipping the team’s White House visit, but cited family time as the reason for his absence. Dont’a Hightower will also skip the White House, but not for political reasons – because he’s “been there, done that.”
Meanwhile, Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, and LeGarrette Blount referred to disagreements with President Trump’s administration, and Chris Long alluded to strong political reasons as his motivation for avoiding the White House.
The longtime personal ties between the president and the Krafts, Brady, and Bill Belichick has been a source of scrutiny for the Patriots in recent months. But Robert Kraft denied that it caused any internal problems with the Patriots, Brady or his teammates. It certainly didn’t affect the team’s ability to come back and win the Super Bowl.