Patriots Celebrate Super Bowl At Trump’s White House — Some Of Them, Anyway

The New England Patriots inspected the White House on Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl win alongside President Donald Trump , an annual tradition for the win of the NFL championship. Well, half of the Patriots did, anyway.

Thirty-four Patriots musicians, plus several staff members and coach Bill Belichick, attended the ceremony on the White House lawn as Trump praised what he called ” the greatest Super Bowl comeback of all time .” The team’s full roster includes 68 musicians, which necessitates half of the squad skipped the celebration.

Super Bowl champ musicians often miss the annual White House victory visit due to scheduling conflicts. But turnout for Wednesday’s event appeared to be lower than for a previous Patriots visit in 2015. To some musicians, absences were notably linked to politics.

The New York Times firstly pointed out the stark difference between photographs of the event this year, and those from 2015, the last occasion the Patriots won the Super Bowl. The earlier photo shows about 120 people, including musicians and staff members, standing behind former President Barack Obama. On Wednesday, there used to be barely more than 50 people alongside Trump.

The Patriots strongly refuted a Times tweet evidencing the 2015 and 2017 photo, announcing the comparisons” absence context .” The 2015 photo included more than 40 support staff members, who were seated on the lawn this year, the team said.

” Merely during the Trump presidency does the media care about this much about who doesn’t attend ,” Patriots spokesman Stacey James told HuffPost.

Wednesday was the fifth occasion the team has gone to the White House, James announced, and the number of musicians attending has ranged from about 27 to 50.

” Here’s what gripes me — the scrutiny with which the visit to the White House has been handled by the press ,” James announced.” Ever been have we had musicians being asked,’ Are you going to the White House ?’ … There is no more than a few musicians who came out who said they don’t support the president and weren’t going for that reason .”

Notably absent Wednesday was Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who canceled at the last minute, citing” personal family contents ,” according to a statement obtained by ESPN. Brady also missed the festivals in 2015, but were represented at the three previous visits.

Trump didn’t mention Brady, but he did call out several musicians by identify, including an awkward time involving wide receiver Danny Amendola, The Boston Globe reported. Amendola was among those who missed the event.

” Where’s Danny? Where’s Danny ?” Trump announced. Amendola later thanked the president for the “shout out” in a since-deleted tweet, and said he was attending a funeral.

Six other Patriots had announced they wouldn’t were represented at the event for political reasons. The Globe reported this week that Alan Branch would hop-skip the opening ceremony because of Trump’s sexist remarks, and” wouldn’t wishes to spend time away from their own families to shake the hand of a person I wouldn’t want to meet with or talk to .” Defensive back Devin McCourty told Time in February he would stay away, clarifying the” basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House .”

Trump has personal ties to the Patriots, as various media stores have reported. Brady had a Make America Great Again hat in his locker for much of the 2016 season, and Trump’s campaign garnered the support of both Belichick and team proprietor Robert Kraft.

Kraft in February complained about media attentionto players’ decisions to hop-skip this year’s gala, saying it was the first time people cared.

” Every occasion we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our musicians don’t go ,” Kraft told the ” Today ” demonstrate.” This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they’re on national championship teams, others have household commitments. But the committee is America. We’re all free to do whatever’s best for us. We’re just privileged to be in a position to be going .”

Matt Ferner contributed reporting .

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