More than 30 Patriots skipped out on White House visit
The New England Patriots stopped by the White House on Wednesday for the traditional meeting with the president for championship teams and hoo boy not a lot of them bothered to show up. We all knew Tom Brady was a late scratch for the visit, and several other players such as Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty made it known well in advance they wouldn’t be attending either because of Trump. The actual number of Patriots who didn’t make it to DC though looks to be considerably higher than most people realized, though.
According to the Boston Globe, 34 players in total opted out of the visit, and the result is a sad looking picture, especially compared to the five-time champions’ last trip to the White House in 2015. No amount of Gronk shenanigans can distract from this glaring disparity.
— NYT Sports (@NYTSports) April 19, 2017
Not every player skipped out on the event for political reasons. Some just couldn’t make it due to various scheduling conflicts, and hey, sometimes these things happen. It just kind of feels like maybe a bunch of them didn’t really try very hard to get out of their previous engagements when they realized the meeting with Trump would be on the same day.
Despite the very obvious photo evidence showing a smaller crowd for Trump than Obama had, let’s not be the least bit surprised when Trump inevitably claims this was the largest gathering of New England Patriots at the White House in history. Ideally, he’ll demand the National Parks Service release more photos too.
UPDATE: Without Trump even having to ask, the New England Patriots rushed to his defense, tweeting that the two pics “lack context” and that the 2015 pic included team staff lining the stairs.
These photos lack context. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn. https://t.co/iIYtV0hR6Y
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) April 20, 2017
That’s almost certainly true, but it also doesn’t change the fact that Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Legarrette Blount, Alan Branch, and a whole bunch of other players weren’t there.
[NY Times | Photo: Screengrab via ABC News]