Several New England Patriots players are opting out of attending the celebratory White House visit following their Super Bowl victory last Sunday.
After tight end Martellus Bennett publicly stated that he would be skipping the traditional champions’ visit, at least five more members of the team joined him, including defensive back Devin McCourty, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Alan Branch.
Most of the players cited their disdain for Donald Trump as their reason for not attending. Chris Long stands out as the only White athlete to take the stand to not attend the White House visit. Chuck Modiano of the New York Daily News penned an open letter to Long asking the longtime Ram to “stand up” to Trump, writing, “You are one of the only white NFL athletes who publicly seemed to ‘get it’ after Colin Kaepernick took his national anthem stand.”
Long took to Twitter to respond to Modiano’s request, saying:
For other players like linebacker Dont’a Hightower, it was just a case of “been there, done that.” According to the Washington Post, it’s possible that an invitation from the White House won’t be extended to New England at all, despite its ties to Robert Kraft, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.