Noticeably absent from the White House event was Super Bowl MVP and star quarterback Tom Brady.
In fact, a quick scan of photos through the years suggests that the high attendance at the Obama White House in 2015 was an anomaly-which nonetheless can’t be welcome news for Trump. Overall, a total of 34 players did attend the event, including Brissett and Garoppolo, who seemed to have a good time even without their fearless leader on hand to take pictures with them.
Soon after that game, several prominent Patriots players – including Martellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, Devin McCourty, and Alan Branch – specifically said that they would not go because of President Donald Trump.
The president accepted gifts from Kraft and Belichick during the ceremony, a personalized No. 45 Patriots jersey and a team helmet matching the ones used during the Super Bowl.
“Patriots’ turnout for President Obama in 2015 vs. Patriots’ turnout for President today”, New York Times Sports wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
The Patriots came to Trump’s defense, tweeting that the photos “lack context” and non-players were seated, as opposed to standing.
A separate Times news story reported that “two dozen or more other players”, including Tom Brady, didn’t attend the White House ceremony.
The president and White House accused media outlets of downplaying the size of Trump’s inauguration crowd.
He also thanked Coach Bill Belichick for sending him a supportive letter before the election.
While the day was created to be festive, the Patriots were left to deal with the news that former tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials.
Taking their lead from the New York Times, which tweeted out a misleading photo of Wednesday’s visit, detractors highlighted a tweet from Brady’s wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen.
There were Patriots players that were absent from the visit and had meaningful reasons for protest.