BOSTON (CBS) — Wednesday is a big day for the New England Patriots. Most of them, at least.
It’s the day when the Super Bowl LI champions will be honored at the White House, the first professional sports team to do so under President Donald Trump.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced early Wednesday that he would not be attending the ceremony, citing family reasons. But head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft are expected to be front and center, as their personal connections to President Trump have been well documented over the past year.
Brady joins a list of at least six members of the defending champs won’t be attending New England’s visit to the White House, with many of the other players citing political reasons for skipping the ceremonies.
[graphiq id=”9EICsFEXHF3″ title=”New England Patriots Players Skipping 2017 White House Visit” width=”600″ height=”343″ url=”https://w.graphiq.com/w/9EICsFEXHF3″ ]
A pair of former Patriots in Martellus Bennett (now a member of the Green Bay Packers) and Chris Long (who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles) will also not be joining their former teammates on Wednesday.
For the Patriots organization, a trip to the Rose Garden is nothing new. It will be Belichick and Kraft’s fifth visit with the Patriots, and the fourth for Brady, who skipped New England’s 2015 visit when President Barack Obama was in office, citing a family commitment.
The Pats were honored by President George W. Bush on three different occasions during his eight years in office, giving him a jersey each time. They also gave President Bush a hoodie sweatshirt following during their visit in 2005.
It’ll be interesting to see what President Trump has to say about the Super Bowl Champs on Wednesday.
The Patriots will not be visiting the Walter Reed Military Medical Center during their time in Washington D.C., but will instead welcome a group of patients to lunch and have them join them on their trip to the White House.