What do Chris Long, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch, Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty and Dont’a Hightower have in common, aside from winning the Super Bowl with the New England Patriots on Sunday?
They have all publically said they plan on skipping a trip to the White House to celebrate the team’s fifth NFL championship.
A few cited President Donald Trump as their reason for missing what has become part of the Super Bowl tradition.
“I just don’t feel welcome in that house, I’m going to just leave it at that,” running back Blount told Rich Eisen of the NFL Network.
Tight end Bennett said prior to the Super Bowl that he “most likely” wouldn’t visit because “I don’t support the guy that’s in the house.”
Defensive back McCourty echoed Blount and Bennett, telling Time via text that “basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House.”
Chuck Modiano of the New York Daily News wrote an open letter to Long urging him to stand with Bennett, McCourty and Hightower and skip the trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“In a pathetic sea of NFL white silence this year, you are one of the only white NFL athletes who publicly seemed to ‘get it’ after Colin Kaepernick too his national anthem stand,” Modiano wrote.
The defensive end took to Twitter to respond.
Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call. https://t.co/XWo9x2XT40
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 9, 2017
Defensive tackle Branch said in a Sirius XM interview that he would miss the visit because he was going to “celebrate until next season starts” with his family.
“Been there, done that,” said linebacker Hightower, who visited the White House as a University of Alabama player and skipped the Patriots’ last trip in 2014.
Only time will tell if the Patriots will even be invited for a White House visit for sure — even though Trump has long touted a friendship with quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick.