New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has finally explained why he missed the Super Bowl champions’ April 19 White House visit, and the reason had nothing to with protesting, except maybe against cancer.
“It was to spend time with my mom, Brady told Extra reporter A.J. Calloway at the 2017 Met Gala in New York City. “That’s pretty important to me … It’s been a great year, but it’s even better to spend time with my parents and my kids.” His mother reportedly is battling cancer.
Brady told Calloway he was looking forward to the presentation of Super Bowl rings in a couple of months. The rest of the conversation was about the Patriots’ preparation for next season.
Brady’s announcement that he would not attend the White House ceremony came just hours before the event and led to speculation that his decision was politically motivated.
His wife, Gisele Bündchen, added to the controversy with a tweet on the same day:
“On April 29th in Washington- D.C. – March for climate, jobs and justice. To Change everything, we need everyone.” The tweet has since been deleted but it is considered a direct criticism of Trump. Since then Bündchen has posted several other tweets on global warming and sustainability.
She hasn’t been shy about her dislike of Trump in the past, responding with a hearty “NO!” when asked on social media whether she supported his candidacy.
Brady, however, has been linked with Trump in the past. More than a year before the election, a “Make America Great Again” cap was spotted in his locker.
As the election got closer, Brady said his wife made him stop talking about politics on the record.
As for the White House visit, Brady wasn’t the only Patriots player to skip it. Roughly two dozen players opted out of the appearance for one reason or another.
During the the ceremony Trump didn’t mention Brady’s name, prompting speculation that Trump may have been taking a shot at him for missing the event.
According to Patriots spokesman Stacy James, 34 players attended this year’s ceremony, comparable to the Patriots’ attendance numbers in 2004 and 2005. In 2015, when President Barack Obama was in office, about 50 attended.
Not that Obama was universally beloved by NFL players. In 2013, the Baltimore Ravens’ Matt Birk didn’t attend because he disagreed with Obama’s policies.