Hours before the New England Patriots were scheduled to visit the White House and meet with President Trump on Wednesday in celebration of a Super Bowl victory, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady announced he would not be attending. Brady cited “personal family matters” as his reasoning.
Brady issued the following statement at about 9:30 a.m. ET:
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today. Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”
Later on Wednesday morning, Brady posted a photo on Instagram that hinted why he might be missing the trip: His family is with his parents, who are celebrating their 48th anniversary on Wednesday.
In recent days, Brady also posted a picture of his daughter with his mother, who is battling cancer.
A post shared by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:43am PDT
As with so much else involving President Trump, the Patriots’ visit carries far more political implications than a simple hold-up-a-jersey photo shoot. Multiple players, including Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, and others have announced they would not be attending the visit because of political opposition to Trump.
Brady and Trump have a long history together, with Brady once sporting a “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker and Trump touting Brady’s support before election-season crowds. Brady drew multiple questions about his friendship with Trump during the campaign, and eventually stopped addressing the question altogether.
Brady’s absence is yet another twist in what’s suddenly become a notable team visit. Early in the morning of the scheduled visit, former Patriot Aaron Hernandez was found dead in his prison cell of an apparent suicide. Hernandez, a teammate of many current Patriots, had been convicted of murder in the 2013 death of Odin Lloyd.
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Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.