Brittany's Blog: Patriots Games
Numerous New England Patriots players who chose not to visit the White House in order to protest President Trump should be ashamed of themselves.
On Wednesday, the Super Bowl Champion Patriots met with Trump in an annual ceremony held at the White House. But do some of these players, especially those who refused to attend, even know what the word patriot means?
The definition of the word patriot is “a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.”
Yet, only 34 players attended. That means nearly two dozen Patriots players didn’t show up, including wide receiver Danny Amendola and star quarterback Tom Brady.
This has been a tradition for Super Bowl champions to appear at the White House, take a tour, get a photo taken with the president and present the president with a ceremonial jersey.
What were the reasons for why nearly two dozen Patriots players refused to show up? Defensive tackle Alan Branch stated he was disturbed by Trump’s “sexist” comments.
Safety and team captain Devin McCourty told TIME magazine, “Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
Running back LeGarrette Blount said in a radio interview, “I just don’t feel welcome in that house.” The majority of these players’ reasons for not attending were political.
This, however, begs the question: Why, for one day, can’t we put politics aside? After all, we are talking about a visit to the White House—the people’s house, which embodies the executive branch of our democracy. The White House is a key institution of America, the ONLY country in the world where you can make millions of dollars to throw and catch a football.
Frankly, it’s embarrassing that some Patriots’ players speak so negatively about our president. It doesn’t matter who the president is, Democrat or Republican, male or female, you should attend the White House when the president invites you—politics aside. If Coach Bill Belichick told all the players they had to be there or they would be benched for the first game of the 2017-2018 season, they would have attended. It’s a great accomplishment to become a Super Bowl champion. But that doesn’t mean you can be disrespectful to the president.
Then there are the players who claim “family issues” prevented them from appearing. Amendola said he had a funeral to attend. Brady said in a statement he was dealing with “personal family matters.” I’ll take Brady at his word when he says he had family issues. After all, his mother is battling cancer.
But if—and I stress if—this is just Brady trying to get out of a media firestorm for fear of having a picture taken with Trump, then Brady is a wimp. What happened to Brady’s “Make America Great Again” cap that was famously in his locker? What happened to friends sticking together?
During Deflategate, Trump consistently defended Brady at rallies in New England, saying: “Leave Tom Brady alone!” Trump said on The Kuhner Report he thought the Patriots could win the Super Bowl and spoke very highly of owner Robert Kraft, Belichick and Brady.
In fact, at the White House ceremony Trump praised the Patriots for their comeback Super Bowl win.
“With your backs against the wall, and the pundits, good old pundits, boy, they’re wrong a lot, aren’t they? Saying you couldn’t do it, the game was over, you pulled off the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time,” he said.
To be fair, Kraft returned the favor. At the White House, he compared Trump’s stunning election victory to the Patriots’ Super Bowl heroics, saying, “This year’s championship was achieved after falling behind 25 points … that deficit had only been overcome seven times, in that same manner, a very good friend of mine for over 25 years … launched a campaign for the president … facing odds almost as long as we faced. He persevered to become the 45th president of the United States.”
Kraft never stopped supporting his friend. Even if it means being attacked by the liberal Boston media. That’s what friends do; at least, that’s what they are supposed to do.
Ultimately, the refusal by some of the Patriots to appear beside Trump boils down to spoiled, selfish millionaire athletes. They think they are bigger and better than the White House. Well, I’ve got news for you: you’re not.
-Brittany Jennings is Executive Producer of “The Kuhner Report” on WRKO AM-680 in Boston.