As expected, Martellus Bennett was the first domino to fall in what could be an ongoing series during the Trump administration.
After winning the Super Bowl this past Sunday, Bennett told the press he wouldn’t join his teammates on the standard visit to the White House to meet and pose with the president. Defensive back Devin McCourty told TIME Magazine that he also wouldn’t be in attendance.
“I’m not going to the White House,” McCourty told TIME in a text message. “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.”
Bennett and McCourty aren’t the first athletes to skip out on the White House visit. As a matter of fact, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady stayed behind in 2015 due to a “family commitment.” However, it turns out he was actually just getting in some extra reps back in New England, according to CBS.
Given that Brady is a supporter of Donald Trump, along with the team’s owner and head coach, he’ll likely be front and center this time around.
Bennett’s and McCourty’s decisions are personal. They feel that the President, his supporters and his policies unfairly target scores of people and choose not to support it. They’ve already shown their support of social justice movements as they raised their fists on the sideline during the National Anthem following Colin Kaepernick’s protest.
While other members of the Patriots are well within their right to choose to go or stay behind, the impact of this move reaches far past the NFL or even this highly politicized season.
What’s going to happen over the next four years with other sports? LeBron James already refused to stay in a Trump hotel once this season. It’s hard to imagine he’d want to go to the White House and pose with the man behind the name if he won another championship this year.
Let’s say the sports gods are kind and love irony and decide to give Colin Kaepernick the tools he needs to succeed and he wins a Super Bowl at some point over the next four years. Would he pose with the president and throw a black fist of pride in the air? Or stay home and allow his teammates to choose which side of the line they fall on?
For fans that complain about their sports becoming too political, it’s odd that they complain about players electing to not go to the most political building in the United States.
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