While the bulk of his team is set to attend a White House celebration Wednesday, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has backed out.
Brady, who is old friends with Donald Trump announced Wednesday morning that he won’t be attending the Super Bowl ceremony due to some “family matters.”
“Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team fora s long as I can remember,” Brady said in a statement provided to ESPN. “In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters.”
Tom Brady is not attending White House ceremony today due to "personal family matters." His statement: pic.twitter.com/OIidVZX3VV
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) April 19, 2017
While he doesn’t specify his reasons, many speculate that it’s to spend time with his mother, who is in town and has been ill.
Brady also didn’t attend the Patriots’ last visit to the White House in 2015 due to family commitments.
He won’t be the only Patriots player attending. At least six players said they were boycotting the event due to Trump’s policies, according to NBC News.
Defensive back Devin McCourty told the network that he didn’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,” he said.
Running back LaGarrette Blunt agreed, according to a tweet from the Rich Eisen Show.
"I will NOT be going to the White House. I don't feel welcome in that house. I'll leave it at that." -@LG_Blount
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) February 9, 2017
The team received criticism before and after their from behind Super Bowl win for being Trump’s team, since the president has been a longtime fan and friend of the team. Besides Brady, he has cited his relationships with coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft.
Brady has never specifically stated openly if he supported Trump in the election, but Trump himself ousted Brady as a supporter last year.
Despite questions of the quarterback’s political leanings, many progressive-leaning Patriots fans are still Team Brady. Chris Evans, who has been vocal against the Trump administration but is a longtime Patriots fan, said he wouldn’t hold it against him.
“Well, I tell you what. If anyone gets a pass it’s Tom Brady,” the Boston-born actor said.