Patriots owner Robert Kraft breaks silence on players ditching trip to the White House

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, left, addresses the crowd as cornerback Malcolm Butler holds a Super Bowl trophy and running back Dion Lewis takes a photo during a rally Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017, in Boston, to celebrate Sunday's 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in the NFL Super Bowl 51 football game in Houston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

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Much has been made of some of Super Bowl LI’s champions publicly declining to go to the White House, so much so that the noise has reached the ear of Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Kraft addressed the news Monday on “The Today Show” by downplaying it.

“Well, you know what’s interesting, this is our, I’m happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years,” he said. “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.”

Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett touched the subject last week saying, “I’m not going to go.”

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“It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter,” he would add.

Defensive back Devin McCourty also announced his decision not to go to D.C.

“I’m not going to the White House. Basic reason for me is 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,” he said.

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Alan Branch, Dont’a Hightower, Chris Long and LeGarrette Blount won’t be going either.

“I won’t be going to the White House,” Blount said, echoing McCourty. “I just don’t feel welcome in that house. I’ll just leave it at that.”

(H/t Fox Sports)

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