WASHINGTON, D.C.—Tom Brady was taking the day off.
As the White House prepared to welcome the New England Patriots for Wednesday’s championship ceremony, as little snot-nosed kids threw on their Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski jerseys, as a train made its way from New York to Washington, D.C., news broke that the (five-time) Super Bowl-winning quarterback would skip the opportunity to visit President Donald Trump. Brady cited a personal family matter for his absence, providing a sufficient enough explanation to avoid any further investigation. In the week before the title game, Brady had revealed that his mother Galynn had a serious illness. It had been discussed in a tone which sounded serious, and since two and two went together, that was that. There went the possibility of Brady making a face while receiving an awkward Trump handshake in front of everyone.
Brady wasn’t the only champion to forgo the trip, although the other reasons differed from his. Since James White ran in the game-winning touchdown and the Atlanta Falcons experienced the first seconds of a feeling that could be described as DIY, non-anesthetic heart surgery, every Patriot had been monitored to see if they would skip the White House visit because of the people who occupy it. Even though the tradition, popularized by Ronald Reagan, has never been illuminating or compelling, and athletes such as Tim Thomas and Matt Birk have declined invitations for their own reasons, this year and presidency is inarguably different, especially given that the leader of the free world adores the team and its owner, Bob Kraft.
A few of the…
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