The New England Patriots will be the first team to receive an invitation to the White House coming off a championship in the Donald Trump presidency. Do not expect to see Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett when that celebration occurs.
After the Patriots won the Super Bowl in thrilling fashion Sunday, Bennett told reporters he will not be going to the White House, which is customary for a championship team.
Patriots TE Martellus Bennett said he will not go to the White House to honor Super Bowl win. Not worried about what his owner thinks.
— Brandon George (@DMN_George) February 6, 2017
The idea of a championship player not attending the White House while Donald Trump is president is not unique, but Bennett is officially the first champion in line for a White House invite to officially say he will not accept. Iman Shumpert of the Cleveland Cavaliers has previously said he will not go to the White House if the Cavs are fortunate to win the NBA title for a second straight season, although LeBron James has only gone so far as to say he is unsure if he would attend. Three NBA teams have also decided to boycott Trump-brand hotels.
It is also worth a reminder that there have been athletes who opted not to attend the White House during Barack Obama’s eight-year presidency as well. Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas did not visit the White House in 2011. A number of athletes over the years have skipped out on a White House visit as well, including Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.
And in case you forgot, Tom Brady did not attend the White House after winning the Super Bowl in 2015 due to a “family commitment.” Brady, a noted Trump supporter, is likely to not have a family commitment get in the way this time.