Star QB Tom Brady to miss NFL champs’ visit to White House

Star QB Tom Brady to miss NFL champs' visit to White House

WASHINGTON — Star quarterback Tom Brady will not join his New England Patriots teammates Wednesday when the Super Bowl champions visit the White House to accept congratulations from President Donald Trump for another NFL title.

The White House said it was notified that Brady was dealing with a “personal family matter” and will not attend the ceremony. Shortly before the event, Brady posted a photo of his parents on Instagram, wishing them a happy anniversary.

One player made an impromptu appearance at a White House press before the official ceremony. Tight end Ron Gronkowski stuck his head in the door of the briefing room as Press Secretary Sean Spicer was holding a televised press briefing.

He jokingly asked Spicer whether he needed any help, drawing laughs. Spicer — an avid Patriots fan — responded “I think I got this. But thank you.”

Trump’s welcome to the team was coming hours after the news from Massachusetts prisons officials that ex-Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell.

Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012, was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. Days ago, the 27-year-old former tight end was acquitted of a double murder.

A team spokesman said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez’s death but that the club wasn’t expected to comment.

Trump has particularly close ties to the Patriots, counting owner Bob Kraft and coach Bill Belichick as friends. One of Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats was spotted in Tom Brady’s locker in 2015.

Kraft was one of at least seven NFL team owners who gave $1 million each to Trump’s inaugural committee, a new fundraising report shows. Others include the owners of the Houston Texans, the Washington Redskins, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the LA Rams. Kraft gave the money via his Kraft Group LLC.

Besides Brady, six members of the team were not expected at Wednesday’s event.

After the triumphant victory, tight end Martellus Bennett quickly made it clear he was not coming to the White House and other teammates followed. Many noted their differences with the Republican administration.

Defensive back Devin McCourty told Time Magazine that “I don’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.”

Players have turned down White House invites ever since such events began to take off under President Ronald Reagan. That includes Brady in 2015. He cited a “family commitment” at the time, but there was speculation he declined because of some unflattering comments a spokesman for President Barack Obama made about the “Deflategate” scandal.

The team’s White House visit caps a dramatic Super Bowl victory. In the first such game to go to overtime, the Patriots pulled off a stunning rally from 25 points down to beat the Atlanta Falcons.

__

Julie Bykowicz and Jill Colvin contributed to this report.

Catherine Lucey, The Associated Press

Just Posted

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Taxing Vancouver Island

Big Read: find out which communities are paying the lowest and highest taxes on Vancouver Island

Town of Qualicum Beach adopts OCP

Council unanimously votes in favour of document; criticizes process

Morningstar has new general manager

Randy LaRoche has been hired as the new general manager of Morningtar… Continue reading

Second season of OrganWORX in Parksville announced

Three new concerts scheduled, subscriptions for sale

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

COC session vote approves Calgary as potential host for 2026 Olympics

Scott Hutcheson, chair of Calgary’s Olympic bid corporation — called vote a positive step forward

Lawyer fired in B.C. courtroom during trial for dangerous driving causing death

Dustin Dennis Zinter was charged following November 2015 accident near Nanaimo, B.C.

Mounties seize 1,500 pot plants in ‘extensive Shawnigan raid

Mounties searched a property in the 4800-block of Goldstream Heights Drive on May 30

B.C. man wins job he was denied after saying he had depression

Transport Canada has been order to give Chris Hughes a high-level job and nearly $500,000

Most Read