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Seven Patriots Players, Including Tom Brady, Skip White House Super Bowl Visit

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Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on January 3, 2016 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Quarterback Tom Brady of the 2017 Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Some of the New England Patriots are playing a game of political football.

Tom Brady and six other players decided to skip the team’s Wednesday visit to the White House, with some players explicitly citing politics as their reason, the New York Times is reporting.

In addition to Brady, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive end Chris Long, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, tight end Martellus Bennett, and safety Devin McCourty all said they won’t attend the scheduled ceremony, which celebrates the Patriots’ 2017 Super Bowl comeback win.

Brady made the announcement in a statement Wednesday morning, where the quarterback said he had family matters to attend to. He also cited family issues when he skipped a 2015 team visit to the White House.

Blount said in a radio interview on “The Rich Eisen Show,” “I just don’t feel welcome in that house.”

Bennett, who has joked about moving to outer space after President Trump was elected, told reporters after the Super Bowl: “It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter.”

McCourty told TIME: “Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”

Branch said he’d be spending the day with family during a Sirius XM radio interview.

Highertower told ESPN that he’s “been there, done that,” after visiting the White House with a championship Alabama team.

The scheduled visit comes the same day that former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in prison, where he was serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for murdering semi-pro football player Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Read the full report from the New York Times.

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