On Tuesday, April 19, 2017, 34 of the 68 invited Patriots players showed up to the annual visit to the White House to celebrate the winning team’s victory in the Super Bowl. The act of skipping out on the presidential visit in sports is one that goes back decades, with Larry Bird skipping out on meeting President Reagan and Tom Brady skipping out on meeting Barack Obama in the past. Two years ago 50 players showed up to the meeting, this year it was only half. Tom Brady received criticism over social media for his active support of the new president and his previous protests against former president Obama.
“I like the way that the athletes are involved in the politics,” sophomore Joe Largo said. “They are more than just players they can use their power for something more.”
Multiple Patriots decided that they would not go due to issues with the presidential administration. Trump meanwhile was not distracted by this,going on to say that no team remained good this long. Despite Brady’s vocal support of the new president, he previously announced that he would not attend due to family matters. Amendola, who had to attend a funeral and missed the visit, was mentioned by name in the president’s speech and glorified alongside his team members.
“It’s disrespectful not to attend,” sophomore Christopher Iriarte said. “You’re meeting the president. Have the decency to show up.”
The team presented the president with an official jersey and a helmet of the New England Patriots. Brady’s relationship with Trump is not a new one. At a rally in New Hampshire, Trump mentioned his personal relationship with Brady, refrencing a phone call between the two over Brady’s support for Trump.
“People that have this platform shouldn’t waste it,” Largo said. “It’s insane how many players didn’t attend.”