As the Patriots get ready to visit the White House today to have their latest Super Bowl Championship recognized by President Trump, they will be without yet another member of the squad: Tom Brady.
Brady will not be attending the ceremony, citing "attending to some personal family matters" as the reason for his absence. Brady also skipped the 2014 White House visit, hosted by President Obama, once again citing a family scheduling conflict.
Some players have stated that they will not be attending for political reasons; others have remained silent on the issue. Regardless of your political beliefs or views on the current administration, let's all keep two things in mind today as the most polarizing team in the NFL meets with the most polarizing President in history:
- Attending the White House after winning a championship is a tradition. It is not a political event. If there were another individual serving as President of the United States, absolutely nothing about the event itself would change. It dates all the way back to 1865, when the Brooklyn Athletics visited Andrew Johnson. If a player chooses to make it political, s/he has every right to do so, but the event itself is as apolitical as it can get while still involving a sitting President. Tradition is tradition, and you can either choose to celebrate that tradition or not.
- We need to take players at their word when they give reasons why they are/are not going. Choosing to go to the White House isn't an automatic endorsement of anything, nor is choosing not to go an automatic indictment of it. If a player has chosen to state a political opinion as a reason for attending/not attending, then we know those specific players' opinions - and nobody else's. Brady says he will not be there because of family matters, and we should accept that as the reason he isn't going. To read into it further, attach your own beliefs to it, or steer any discourse or conversation anywhere other than what has been said publicly and what is essentially just another team in a long line of teams who have met with Presidents is unnecessary and ultimately based on nothing more than conjecture.
It's too bad Brady won't be there for the second straight time, as this latest Super Bowl may be the most meaningful he has ever won. But he has always placed an extremely high value on family, so hopefully whatever affairs he needs to attend to today don't represent anything grave. I guess he'll just have to win another one next year, so he has the opportunity to visit the President in 2018.