The New England Patriots will visit the White House on April 19, becoming the first championship sports team to visit since President Donald Trump took office.
The Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl with quarterback Tom Brady in a record-breaking comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in February.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer announced the date on Thursday, reported the Boston Globe, noting that Patriots owner Robert Kraft was with the president over the weekend on Air Force One.
"Patriots owner Robert Kraft is a friend of President Donald Trump, and coach Bill Belichick is a member at Mar-a-Lago, Trump's 'winter White House,'" noted Aidan Quigley of Politico. "The day before the election, then-candidate Trump read a letter from Belichick and claimed that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady voted for him."
Sports Illustrated noted that six Patriots players, unhappy with various things, have been telling everyone who will listen before and after the Super Bowl that they will not join their teammates at the White House: former Patriots' tight end Martellus Bennett, safety Devin McCourty, linebacker Dont'a Hightower, defensive end Chris Long, running back LaGarrette Blount and defensive tackle Alan Branch.
Kraft has sought to downplay the absences, telling Fox that at previous White House visits about a dozen players would not attend for varying reasons.
The Washington Post pointed out that Brady skipped the team's visit in 2015 with President Barack Obama, citing a "family commitment."
Boston Red Sox star Manny Ramirez opted out of a meeting with President George W. Bush in 2008, noted the Post, and Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas skipped his team's visit with Obama in 2012 in recognition of its Stanley Cup title.
Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird reportedly quipped, "If the president wants to see me, he knows where to see me," when the star skipped a White House visit with President Ronald Reagan in 1984.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.