Robert Kraft downplays Patriots players skipping White House trip

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft spent some time with President Donald Trump this weekend, and seemed unfazed by the prospect that at least 10 percent of his latest Super Bowl roster wants no part of a similar offer.

During an appearance on the Today show, Kraft said the fact that at least six of his players have publicly announced they won’t be joining the team on a White House visit wasn’t terribly new.

“Well, you know what’s interesting, this is our, I’m happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years,” Kraft said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “And every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention. You know, some of the players have the privilege of going in college because they’re on National Championship teams, others have family commitments. But this is America. We’re all free to do whatever’s best for us. We’re just privileged to be in a position to be going.”

It’s not the first time it has gotten attention, however. Quarterback Tom Brady skipped the last one two years ago when Barack Obama was in office, but would ostensibly make this trip since he’s friends with President Trump.

But so far, Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, Dont’a Hightower, Alan Branch and LeGarrette Blount have all said they won’t make the trip, several of them explicitly saying they didn’t feel welcomed there.

Kraft joined President Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for dinner at the Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday night.

102 responses to “Robert Kraft downplays Patriots players skipping White House trip

  1. Oh yeah? A dozen players have skipped the white house each time? Please name names. I doubt that’s accurate.

  2. babygaga19 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:30 AM
    Shocking how all of Brady’s team mates have bailed on him by not going to see Tommy’s BFF Man Crush Man Bro! Nice loyalty to No. 12.

    Shocking how some people ONLY read the headlines

    Kraft said, via Phil Perry of CSNNE.com. “And every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go. This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention

  3. Watch out for someone passing out on the walk over; it’s probably Hillary Clinton disguised in a Hightower jersey.

  4. If these obnoxious players are going to say they “don’t feel welcome there” they should elaborate on that and tell us precisely what Donald Trump did to them personally to make them feel unwelcome. And sorry, but whining about the fact his political views aren’t the same as theirs is not a legitimate excuse.

  5. Yeah, it is common knowledge that players skip these things, from all sports, if they don’t agree with the politics of the current administration. I find it shockingly dishonest that the media is pretending this is a new thing or downplaying past athletes. Clearly there is an agenda by the press these days and it’s disturbing. Sports is supposed to transcend politics and serve as our distraction from that noise. Sports journalists and athletes just want people to think their areas of expertise goes into other areas hence making them appear smarter than they actually are. It isn’t working.

  6. “Kraft joined President Trump and Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for dinner at the Mar-a-Lago resort on Friday night.”
    ==================
    It is amazing what information one can learn from the more educated posters 🙂 Seems like I posted that 2 days ago….

  7. Yeah, it is common knowledge that players skip these things, from all sports, if they don’t agree with the politics of the current administration. I find it shockingly dishonest that the media is pretending this is a new thing or downplaying past athletes. Clearly there is an agenda by the press these days and it’s disturbing. Sports is supposed to transcend politics and serve as our distraction from that noise. Sports journalists and athletes just want people to think their areas of expertise goes into other areas hence making them appear smarter than they actually are. It isn’t working

  8. Kraft probably has a bigger problem with Bennett backing out on his commitment to do the NFL Israel trip. That is one of Kraft’s passions and, for that reason (and money) he’ll be decent tight end for some other team.

  9. Trump is a bigot, this is not in question. David Duke is a huge fan of Trump, what does that tell you? When the KKK and Nazi’s got your back, is it a big surprise that African American players would take a pass at shaking your little orange hands?

  10. They should all boycott it until someone presidential is elected. That way they can avoid the embarrassment of being associated with someone who will make the visit all about him and not about the team or their accomplishments.

  11. Opting out of a voluntary celebration really isn’t that big a deal. This year it is getting such high levels of attention because of the way the current administration is so polarizing. For the people that dislike Trump, the players skipping the visit are another opportunity to forward the storyline of how heavily protested he is. For the people that like Trump, it is an opportunity to push the storyline that he’s treated unfairly and a victim. At the end of the day, why would anyone really care what someone they wouldn’t even have a beer with chooses to do with their free time?

  12. That’s why I watch the NFL and it’s why I root so hard for my team to win the Super Bowl.

    So they can go meet the President at the White House.

    Isn’t that why they invented football in the first place?

    They even made the football oval just like the office.

  13. I would love to be in a place in my life where I could turn down such an amazing experience – Regardless of who the president is

  14. The most important aspect was bringing Lombardi #5 to Foxborough. When Prewident Obama came to visit the military in 2012, I was asked if I wanted to meet him. I said no. And no I’m not a conersvative, liberal or 3rd party member. I’m an American who didn’t want to get stuck in a dog and pony show for no good reason Why waste a perfectly good day at Kailua beach.

  15. pastabelly says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:53 AM
    Kraft probably has a bigger problem with Bennett backing out on his commitment to do the NFL Israel trip. That is one of Kraft’s passions and, for that reason (and money) he’ll be decent tight end for some other team.

    ========
    wasn’t that his brother?

  16. Everything with the this President and the Media is being blown WAY out of proportion……people need to take breath, accept Hillary lost and give the President a fair amount of time to do his job. All this decisiveness is not good for the country.

  17. whenever I see a post with a boatload of downvotes I don’t even bother reading anymore…trolls have been really slacking lately and it’s not as fun. They’ve run out of material. #Sad

  18. Remember what Josh Earnest, Obama’s spokesman said about Brady during Deflategate? Then Obama made a lame joke about Deflategate when the team visited the WH.
    Those players can skip the WH trip, it’s nothing new. It’s just a big deal because it’s the Patriots.

  19. thermalito says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:46 AM
    If these obnoxious players are going to say they “don’t feel welcome there” they should elaborate on that and tell us precisely what Donald Trump did to them personally to make them feel unwelcome. And sorry, but whining about the fact his political views aren’t the same as theirs is not a legitimate excuse.

    —–

    they were asked a question and provided an answer. why do you deem these players obnoxious?

    players have a right to go if they want and skip it if they want. They don’t owe you or anyone else a “legitimate excuse”….whatever it is you define that to be.

    If it was me, I’d probably go even though I’m not a Trump supporter…..but that would be my choice.

  20. I’m a staunch liberal Democrat, but I also have conservative friends. While I think these friends are idiots and tell the often they are idiots, they are still my friends and I’m not going to stop being their friends just because they are conservative.

    I feel the same way about TB12 and BB. While I don’t respect Trump (#NotMyPresident), I do respect that TB12 and BB have been friends with Trump for more than a decade. I respect players who have skipped White House visits whether it was Bush Jr., Obama, or now Trump. Everyone else should too. Its just not right to pressure these players to do something they are just not comfortable doing.

  21. Which is better: A handful of players skipping the White House visit for political reasons, or being forced to go and making a scene? If they go and make a scene or even just some eye rolling while Trump’s talking, it will ruin the event for everyone else. That will be all we talk about on this Super Bowl.

  22. These stupid players trying to make a political statement. They are wasting their time making a statement. Don’t feel welcome what a bunch of bone heads!!! Most people would never get the chance to go to meet a president. 20 years from now they will look back and wonder why they were so stupid.

  23. “It’s not the first time it has gotten attention, however. Quarterback Tom Brady skipped the last one two years ago when Barack Obama was in office, but would ostensibly make this trip since he’s friends with President Trump.”
    _________________________________________

    WOW! It’s the first time it got this type of attention from news organizations that want to make this President look as bad as they can. Especially from reporters as yourself.

  24. If these obnoxious players are going to say they “don’t feel welcome there” they should elaborate on that and tell us precisely what Donald Trump did to them personally to make them feel unwelcome. And sorry, but whining about the fact his political views aren’t the same as theirs is not a legitimate excuse.

    ======

    I’ll spell it out for you. Trump supports stop and frisk which traditionally targets minorities. Trump nominates documented bigots like Sessions and Bannon for cabinet positions. Trump has accused minorities of voter fraud. If that’s not a good enough reason for you I could expand more…

  25. dow jones is up almost 14% since trump was elected, and more highs to come. I hope all these players pulled every last dime out of the stock market. you know, I wouldn’t want them taking advantage of a good thing. i’m sure they pulled all their investments out since nov 8th…yep im sure of it.

  26. For better or worse, Trump was elected by the people of this great country. If these players feel so strongly against us and our electoral process, maybe they should find a new home. Mexico is available.

  27. The down sliding of that social warrior BSPN is the reason that this is such a big deal. Realistically everyone should see it as an honor to get an invite to the White House regardless of your political ideology. However every person with a mic these days is spouting their views and not delivering the sports news and BSPN and their new PC pretend 6pm sportscenter is a prime example.

  28. Going to the White House is not an endorsement of any kind of Trump or his politics. It merely is a celebration of team and the tremendous accomplishment they achieved. I love it how these morons believe their absence will change the world. Very childish and misguided.

  29. And now the Cheetah Nation basement fan boys are experienced politicians. Love it. The breadth of their superior knowledge in all things in life is incredible. With all their wordly knowledge, why do they spend all of their waking hours posting on an Internet sports board. Certainly, their talents could be put to a more constructive use, no?

  30. Looks like the left leaning media is making this into a much bigger story then the last eight years.. lol How dumb do they think we are????

  31. well, Trump is our president period. those who said #notmypresident are just in denial. the same with #blm – it’s a scam. as it turns out, black people are more racist than any other race in our country.

  32. babygaga19 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:30 AM

    Shocking how all of Brady’s team mates have bailed on him by not going to see Tommy’s BFF Man Crush Man Bro! Nice loyalty to No. 12
    ——————————————————–

    6 grown men out of 54 who decide ( as is their right) not to attend. Isn’t shocking by any means.

    These same men never Bailed on Tom in the superbowl… and that my lame friend is all that counts.

  33. Ok, Pat fans strongly dislike Trump. That is certainly their perogative and right. But, but, but, TB, BB and Kraft dig the guy and these 3 walk on water in the eyes of Pat fans and can do no wrong (“Every little thing she does is magic……….”). Soooo, how can you love your gods when their interests are so diverse to yours? Conflicted much?

  34. Can I just say this?

    Nobody’s losing any sleep over this. Grow up. Its like a bunch of teenage girls around here sometimes….who did this, whose not doing that…I dont want to be made fun of, oh I dont feel welcome..
    For crying out loud I have never seen such a bunch of snowflakes in my life.

  35. leatherface2012 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 10:37 AM
    dow jones is up almost 14% since trump was elected, and more highs to come. I hope all these players pulled every last dime out of the stock market. you know, I wouldn’t want them taking advantage of a good thing. i’m sure they pulled all their investments out since nov 8th…yep im sure of it.

    ——————————

    All based on speculation on future policies that may or may not happen.

  36. It’s humorous how the liberal media will everyday come up with a reason to discredit President Trump. Kraft indicating that past team White House visits had no shows which were not reported in the media.

    Jim Brown visited Trump at Trump Tower to discuss inner city development and jobs for youth. Brown publicly stated that he was pleased at what Trump had planned on undertaking for the inner cities. The demagogue statements from the left do not mirror reality!

  37. I gotta say, as a diehard Pats fan and my extended family having season tickets since 1978, where I’ve gone to some pretty great games, pre Gillette stadium years, Kraft’s level of involvement with Kraft is starting to disturb me.

    What is an NFL owner doing having dinner with the president of the US and the Prime Minister of Japan?

    Kraft is 75 years old.

    Bob, please scale it back and enjoy the last years you have here on earth.

    My goodness.

    It’s pretty devastating to a lot of your fans that you even rub elbows with Trump, but I would have forgiven it knowing sometimes business dealings cross paths with some unsavory people that you have to deal with at times.

    That is unfortunately not the case here.

    Trump is the only president in US history who is nowhere near presidential material.

    I’d take Dubya all day everyday over this walking embarrassment of a human being.

  38. Trump is a bigot, this is not in question.

    —————–

    Prove it.

    ——————————-

    Is this a serious statement?

    We need to prove Trump’s veiled, but also obvious racism, bigotry and sexism?

    lmao

  39. babygaga19 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:56 AM
    I hope his team mates stand up for him on the field. Maybe they are tired of all his tantrums. Tammy can be a bad girl!

    ————-

    5 Super Bowls. All his teammates love him. Whatever fantasy world you are living is pretty far off reality.

  40. lgw91s says:
    Feb 13, 2017 10:11 AM
    pastabelly says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:53 AM
    Kraft probably has a bigger problem with Bennett backing out on his commitment to do the NFL Israel trip. That is one of Kraft’s passions and, for that reason (and money) he’ll be decent tight end for some other team.

    ========
    wasn’t that his brother?
    ======================================
    It’s both of them. Robert Kraft wouldn’t have a problem if Marty Bennett declined the invitation. However, Marty (and his brother) accepted it and then backed out, drawing attention to it. Kraft built a football stadium in Israel and has interests there. I don’t think Robert or Jonathan will tell Bill Belichick what to do, but they might tell Bill that they aren’t happy about this. I think they are moving ahead without Bennett in any case. The Falcons exposed the Patriots as not dealing well with man to man pressure defense. That defense can’t be played with Gronkowski on the field because he needs more attention. In any case, Marty is about Marty. Get paid Marty.

  41. sidepull says:
    Feb 13, 2017 11:11 AM

    For crying out loud I have never seen such a bunch of snowflakes in my life.
    ===========================================

    The biggest snowflake of all is the one in the White House who has to whine on Twitter every time he loses a court case, calls judges names, claims everything is fake news, etc.

  42. yankeemofo says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:32 AM

    Whi really cares?
    —————————-

    Who really cares? Patriots Haters care. It provides meaning to their pathetic lives when they have something stupid to post about.

  43. If Obama was still in the White House and players were blowing off the event, the Trump followers here would no doubt be applauding and congratulating them.

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot you use it as an excuse to bash the Pats.

    Here’s a little newsflash for you. Obama, Trump, Dems, GOP, doesn’t matter. Both parties are utterly and totally corrupt. Neither party has the best interests of the country at heart, only in stealing as much public money imaginable for their corporate owners and getting huge bribes in the form of unlimited campaign contributions back from the corporate influence peddlers.

  44. Tom Brady got you guys a ring, at least show some appreciation to the organization and himself. Very self centered you lot are.
    Without him you would have won nothing at all.

  45. We don’t throw out our loyal friends and our family just because some people are unhappy with them. That was the old notion, now we are expected to.

  46. babygaga19 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 11:09 AM
    Ok, Pat fans strongly dislike Trump. That is certainly their perogative and right. But, but, but, TB, BB and Kraft dig the guy and these 3 walk on water in the eyes of Pat fans and can do no wrong (“Every little thing she does is magic……….”). Soooo, how can you love your gods when their interests are so diverse to yours? Conflicted much?

    ————

    Because we think they are great at football and leave it at that.

  47. “It’s pretty devastating to a lot of your fans that you even rub elbows with Trump, but I would have forgiven it knowing sometimes business dealings cross paths with some unsavory people that you have to deal with at times.

    Kraft cares zero about the fans and what we think. He made that clear when he accepted the league’s punishment to the team on deflategate and abandoning Brady and the fans.

    It wasn’t enough he already has enough money so the next 10 generations of his family would never have to work a day in their lives if they didn’t want to. Like all the other owners his vast greed transcended that so he did what his business partners wanted.

    And I’m a long time Pats fan saying this. I have lost all respect for Kraft. As long as the money comes in he doesn’t care squat about the people making it for him.

  48. One thing’s for sure…. athletes and Hollywood (and the media) learned nothing from the last election. People don’t agree with you and that’s why we’re stuck with Trump. Good work you narcissists.

  49. Of course Kraft would downplay this. He’s a Trump lover, just like Brady and Belichick. I’m glad to see that some of the Pats players recognize that Traitor Trump is severely damaging the country. We’re hearing increasing reports that White House insiders think Trump is unstable and unfit for the job. Why would any sane, patriotic American citizen want to go hang out with that orange menace?

  50. Tom Brady skipped a White House visit because of a “family commitment”, but was actually at Gillet Stadium.

  51. weepingjebus says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:42 AM
    Watch out for someone passing out on the walk over; it’s probably Hillary Clinton disguised in a Hightower jersey.

    Thread winner right there!

  52. tylawspick6 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 11:20 AM
    Trump is a bigot, this is not in question.

    —————–

    Prove it.

    ——————————-

    Is this a serious statement?

    We need to prove Trump’s veiled, but also obvious racism, bigotry and sexism?

    ________________________________________

    And some blacks in the NFL aren’t racist, right? Give me a break.
    And how about the millions of blacks who voted for O’Bama just because he was half black. Are they racists? Absolutely they are.
    The point is it’s an honor to be invited to the White House and the President deserves to be respected because of the office he holds. That was the case with O’Bama and it’s the case with Trump.
    I did not vote for O’Bama but he was our President and he deserved to be treated with respect. If I had been fortunate enough to be with a group which was invited by O’Bama to the White House, I would have considered it an honor and an obligation to accept and show the man respect.
    These racist liberals have been slamming Trump forever. He hadn’t made one move as President and they were already protesting, looting, and rioting. They can’t deal with the fact that the voters were sick and tired of the direction this country has been going in and wanted a change.
    Trump not only shook up the liberal Democrats, he shook up the Republicans, too. That was one of the reasons I was happy to see him elected.
    And need I remind anyone that President O’Bama welcomed Al Sharpton and Reverend Farrakahn to the stage when he was stumping for President? Those two men are blatantly racist.
    Trump struck a chord with millions of Americans because the things he was saying about illegal aliens and putting America first are the truth. It’s high time we had a President who understands that.
    In one of his first speeches back in 1838 (the Lyceum Speech) when he was just 28 years old, Abraham Lincoln said this:

    “Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well-wisher to his posterity swear by the blood of the Revolution never to violate in the least particular the laws of the country, and never to tolerate their violation by others.”

    The people who are here illegally have violated our laws and they should be dealt with as the criminals they are. Trump wants to do something about that and he wants to do everything he can to stop terrorists from entering our country as well. I am 100% with him on those things and so are millions of other Americans.

  53. The players skipping aren’t stars. The only people non-football fans will recognize in the photo are Brady and Belichick. Since NFL players wear helmets, most Americans wouldn’t recognize the players skipping if they were standing next to them at the grocery store, so it’s no big deal.

  54. maybe we can get all the players that do not want to go some coloring books or therapy dogs, maybe they can even have a “cry-in” like those college kids needed after the election!

  55. So, by your logic, Hightower boycotted the Pats trip to the WH when Obama was President. Long said his decision was his own and not part of any movement.

  56. Some comments on the comments:

    1. Hightower didn’t go when Obama was president so him not going shouldn’t ruffle either side. He went to the WH when Alabama went. So his attitude is ‘been there done that’. He didn’t go to this year’s parade because it was cold and snowing. Who cares.

    2. Those who need proof of Trump’s racism, you only have to go back to his early RE years when the federal housing authority found him guilty of not renting to black people.

    3. I’m not sure Trump hates black people, I thimk what he hates is poor people, regardless of color. He has no use for them.

    4. I hate the shameless way Trump has used his relationship with the Pats to further is own ends.

    5. In Trump’s favor, the reason Kraft became close with him is because when his Wife of 45 years died, Trump stayed in touch on a weekly basis to make sure he was alright. That kind of stuff, in those tough times creates friendships, regardles of you political beliefs.

    6. I’m a Pats fan, and have been for over 50 years. I cringe a bit when the team or individuals are associated with Trump. But hey, they have a right to believe what that want. All I can do is hope for the best, that I am wrong about Trump and his policies, and the country survives the next 4 years.

  57. mullman76 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 12:40 PM

    Drumph and the patriots are perfect for each other.

    Paranoid, thin-skinned, arrogant cheaters deserve to be together.

    Carry on, chowds.

    Go RAIDERS

    A Raiders fan who complains about cheating? You must have missed Matt Millen saying The Raiders were encouraged to cheat.

  58. “It’s not the first time it has gotten attention, however. Quarterback Tom Brady skipped the last one two years ago when Barack Obama was in office, but would ostensibly make this trip since he’s friends with President Trump.”

    So what is the big deal again? You try to make it a big deal on why these 6 players arent going, but then turn around and try to make it no big deal that Tom Brady didnt go when Obama was in office. The hate is real in America.

  59. This was the first time it’s gotten any media attention? A dozen guys don’t go every time? Do your players also say they’re not going becuase they don’t feel welcome every time as well? Patriots??? How about renaming the team to the unpatriots.

  60. I’m no fan of Doug Flutie, ask him what he thinks of our President. When Trump was owner of the New Jersey Generals of the USFL, he stiffed Flutie a lot of money on a signed contract. A sad day when he was elected President.

  61. This is hilarious all the way around. First you have Kraft, taking a page from his buddy Trump’s playbook and blaming this all on “the media.” Fake news, Bob? Really? Guess you know what he, the President and the Japanese Prime Minister talked about the other night over dinner.

    Then you have the players trying to have it both ways. Skipping the ceremony so they look good to the community, while they still get to collect checks from the owner they KNOW is the number-one Trump booster in the NFL. I don’t know which is lamer, Kraft’s “nothing to see here folks” line or the players’ “protest.” I do know both are pretty funny.

  62. “dow jones is up almost 14% since trump was elected, and more highs to come. I hope all these players pulled every last dime out of the stock market. you know, I wouldn’t want them taking advantage of a good thing. i’m sure they pulled all their investments out since nov 8th…yep im sure of it.”
    __________________________________

    LOL, what market investments? Most of these NFL players are broke within a few years of their game checks ending. I suspect most of the Trump crybabies are in the same sunken boat.

  63. I had a chance to meet Obama when he was a senator. I was involved in a meeting he was present at and sat through over an hour of presentations. During Q&A, he posed some of the best questions on the topic of all the attendees. He is not someone I would vote for, but he was sharp as a tack. If I had the chance to meet him at an event like this, I would go. It’s a neutral event and doesn’t reflect on my beliefs. If I was invited to the Medal of Freedom award where Ellen was being awarded simply because she was gay, I wouldn’t go. That’s not a neutral event for me.

    Same with Trump. People I know who have worked with him in the past have all remarked how brilliant he is and how engaged he is on a project. For something like this, if I was ever invited, I would go. If it was an invite to the Oval Office to participate in the signing of an Executive Order to reinstate torture, I wouldn’t go. Neutral event vs non-neutral event.

    And each person has the right to set those boundaries for themselves. Like Hightower, his boundary of been there done that is just as legitimate as mine.

  64. babygaga19 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 9:30 AM

    Shocking how all of Brady’s team mates have bailed on him by not going to see Tommy’s BFF Man Crush Man Bro! Nice loyalty to No. 12
    ______________________________________

    So what loyalty did he show then when he was looking at Apple watches while they were visiting with President Obama? Just curious.

    Seriously though, who cares? I thought Kraft’s response was classy, as I doubt he cares either.

  65. The agendas by media outlets never end. I guess by saying “10%” sounds more damming than just saying only 6 of 53 won’t be attending. And as for down playing, I think his quote on an interview he did was every white house visit a dozen or so players don’t attend. But in the past there was never any media attention brought to it. This biased media crap cracks me up. Have some pride.

  66. This started with Bennett.

    Bennett is a locker room cancer and hopefully they let him go.

    Bennett behaved himself for one year because he had never experienced anything like playing for a winning team. Now his true colors are showing and they are not PATRIOT colors.

    That is why he was not permitted to make the winning TD catch – TWICE!!!!!!

    GO PATRIOTS – Clean House – Next Man Up.

  67. glac1 says:
    Feb 13, 2017 10:57 AM
    Looks like the left leaning media is making this into a much bigger story then the last eight years.. lol How dumb do they think we are????

    ——————————–

    Very.

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