Increasing Number of Patriots Players to Turn Down White House Visit, One Would Rather Meet Obama

Three New England Patriots players have bowed out of the opportunity to visit the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, should the team be invited by President Donald Trump.

The Patriots won Super Bowl LIII by beating the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Atlanta on Sunday and are expected to be invited to the White House, as is customary for teams that have won the national title.

The Associated Press reported that Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty had already said he would turn down the invite, should one be issued. His twin brother and teammate, Jason McCourty, also said he was unlikely to attend. "I haven't thought about it, but I highly doubt it," The Associated Press quoted him as saying..

Devin jokingly accused Jason of lying, but Jason reportedly said there was in fact no chance of him visiting the White House.

The McCourty brothers' comments came only a day after Patriots safety Duron Harmon said he would not go to the White House either, hinting that he believed he would be persona non grata there.

"Nah man, they don't want me at the White House," he told TMZ after the Super Bowl.

While the 28-year-old has no plans to meet Trump, he suggested he would be interested in meeting Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

"Obama, man, come holler at me man, we love you over here," he said.

In 2017, a number of players did not take up the invite from Trump when the Patriots visited the White House after winning Super Bowl LI.

Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty were among the absentees, as was Tom Brady. The six-time Super Bowl winner has never hidden his friendship with Trump but cited family matters as the reason that prevented him from attending.

The White House visit for championship-winning teams has become a thorny political issue since Trump took office.

Last year, Trump rescinded the invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles after it was revealed a number of players had planned not to attend the event.

A few months later, Stephen Curry and LeBron James stated that neither the Golden State Warriors nor the Cleveland Cavaliers would visit the White House if invited after the NBA Finals.

An invite wasn't forthcoming, and last month the Warriors met Obama instead, before taking on the Wizards in Washington.

Trump has given the cold shoulder to some of his neighbors, too. The Washington Capitals won the Stanley Cup in June but have yet to receive a formal invitation to make the short trip across D.C. to the White House.

The Boston Red Sox, meanwhile, are set to visit the White House later this month, but a number of players have already said they would not attend.

Manager Alex Cora also said he might skip the trip because of comments the president made in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017 (the president questioned the official death toll in Puerto Rico). Cora, who was born in Puerto Rico, called Trump's remarks "disrespectful" in 2018.

In January, the Clemson Tigers visited the White House after winning the College Football Playoff. As per USA Today, 75 of Clemson's players attended the event, along with head coach Dabo Swinney.

New England Patriots
David Andrews, No. 60, and James Develin, No. 46, congratulate Sony Michel, No. 26, of the New England Patriots after his fourth quarter touchdown against Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 3 in Atlanta. Several Patriots players have said they would decline any invitation by President Donald Trump to come to the White House. Patrick Smith/Getty Images