Brady cited “personal family matters” as his reason for skipping the ceremony .
“I am so happy and excited that our squad is being honored at the White House today, ” Brady said in a statement posted on NFL.com
. “Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our squad for as long as I can remember. In light of some most recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we achieve the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day! “
His decision goes hours after former teammate Aaron Hernandez, who was serving a life sentence for first-degree assassination, was received hanged in his jail cell
CNN has reached out to both the Patriots and the White House for remark .
Brady’s decision to skip goes after several members of the Super Bowl-winning squad — including defensive objective Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, linebacker Dont’a Hightower, defensive back Devin McCourty and tight objective Martellus Bennett — announced that they won’t be visiting the White House. Several players explicitly cited their opposition to Trump as their reason for not attending .
While Super Bowl champions have skipped the White House visit in recent years — including Brady, who cited scheduling conflicts in 2015 — all eyes were on the Patriots this year, who are in a particularity notable posture because they have been linked to Trump in the past .
The President is a big fan and a friend of Brady’s. Trump also has been close over the years with Patriots owner Bob Kraft and head coach-and-four Bill Belichick .
Brady, who faced dispute during the course of its 2016 election when a “Make America Great Again” hat was spotted in his locker, has been evasive when asked about Trump, maintaining his comments non-political. Asked in February
about his teammates’ decision to snub Trump’s invitation, Brady told “everybody has their own choice.” He added that the tradition of Super Bowl champs visiting the White House each year “never actually was a political thing” for him .
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