Before Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long planned to skip their team's White House visit, Tom Brady did.
Two years ago, after the Patriots won Super Bowl XLIX, they traveled to Washington, DC to meet with president Barack Obama, but their quarterback wasn't there. Despite what Patriots owner Robert Kraft said on Monday, Brady's absence got its share of headlines and air time. And now that McCourty, Bennett, Blount, Long, Alan Branch and Dont'a Hightower have said they won't make the trip to see president Donald Trump, the Patriots and their trip to the nation's capital are back in the news.
Brady's situation from two years ago seems to have been different, though. It wasn't as though he didn't feel welcome in the White House, as Blount, Bennett and McCourty have relayed. He simply had a prior engagement and not much in the way of notice before the trip was scheduled.
That's what he told PFT Live on Tuesday.
"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 has been to the White House four times before -- three with the Patriots when President George W. Bush was in office and once with Michigan when president Bill Clinton was the host -- and told PFT "it really is a great experience."
"Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing," Brady said. "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."