Tom Brady addressed the recent decisions of six of his teammates to skip the Patriots’ White House visit, telling Pro Football Talk that visiting the White House has never been a "political thing."
"It really is a great experience," Brady said. "Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. Everyone has their own choice. It’s an offseason. These days are valuable for everybody. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice."
Six members of the New England Patriots have said they will not be making the White House visit, which is a customary trip for champions of American college and professional sports. Multiple Patriots players have cited their opposition to President Donald Trump as the reason they will not go.
"Everybody has their own choice," Brady said. "There’s certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go and didn’t get the opportunity based on the schedule — we didn’t get told until I think like 10 days before we were going, and at that point I had something I’d been planning for months and couldn’t get there."
Brady is referring to his absence when the Patriots visited President Obama at the White House following their victory over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX. Brady has visited the White House four times—three times with the Patriots and once with the University of Michigan.
Brady is friends with President Trump and displayed a "Make America Great Again" hat in his locker shortly after the businessman announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination. Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick are also friends with Trump.