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Patriots welcomed to White House by Trump
20 April 2017, 06:10 | Kelvin Horton
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He had a personal family matter to attend to, he told ESPN's Mike Reiss.
Super Bowl champion Alan Branch says that he couldn't look his daughters in the eye after tacitly approving what President Donald Trump said in a now infamous recording about women released just before the election. One of Trump's signature "Make America Great Again" hats was spotted in Tom Brady's locker in 2015. He announced Wednesday morning that he would miss it because of "personal family matters". Brady's mother has been battling cancer for roughly two years. Should the Patriots decline to match, the defending Super Bowl champion would receive a first-round pick compensation from Malcolm Butler's new team. The boycott is attributed to Donald Trump being elected president.
The White House celebrations were overshadowed by the suicide of the Patriots former star Aaron Hernandez, who hanged himself on Wednesday in a prison cell where he was serving a life sentence for murder, prison officials said.
Eli Rosenberg will be covering the visit live, and the ceremony will be livestreamed by NBCBoston.com and necn.com here beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
In photos posted to social media Wednesday, the New England Patriots' turnout at the White House this year seemed to be noticeably smaller than in 2015, when the team last visited the executive residence.
In all, 34 Patriots players attended the White House - a comparable number to in years past.
According to an update from the Times, the Patriots said, despite the fewer numbers of players, the team's total delegation was about the same size.
Mr. Trump also thanked Coach Bill Belichick for a letter he wrote congratulating the president on his win in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, which Mr. Trump later read at a rally "in a very, very big and important state".
April 19, 2017New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski interrupts Sean Spicer's press briefing during visit to the White House. "And I understand the focus of football very well, I think, as a civilian, and the pride the Patriots rightfully take in what they've achieved with this championship".
In addition to Brady, several other Patriots players said they would not be going to the White House, with some specifically citing Trump as the reason why. "With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won't", he said.
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