A Change in Tradition

Kyle Rooney, School Page Editor

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Since 1980 it has been an honorable tradition for every National Football team that wins the Super Bowl to meet the President at the White house. This long tradition has been passed down to the New England Patriots after making an improbable 25 point comeback to win Super Bowl 51.
Although there has been a lot of controversy surrounding this tradition, recently due to the fact that six players on the Patriots refused to go to the White House. These Players have been vocal about not going because of their differing opinions with President Donald Trump. Over the years, players from each team opt out of going to the White House to meet the President for various reasons such as, Family obligations, Political views, or business reasons. In this particular case, the players are singling out President Trump which has not been a theme that we have seen from athletes with the privilege of going to the White House. New England Patriots Free Safety Devin McCourty stated in a text message to Time magazine, ”I’m not going to the White House. With the President having so many prejudices and strong opinions I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.” Tight End Martellus Bennett has been very outspoken with his political views on twitter and in many interviews, he was the first player to choose to not got to the White House. In a recent tweet Martellus said, “America was built on inclusiveness not exclusiveness.” This was referring to President Trumps travel ban.
Star quarterback and five time Super Bowl Champion Tom Brady has been brought up in this controversy as well. Brady has been well known to support Trump fully and said that he has voted for him. Although when the Patriots won Super Bowl 49 Brady did not attend the white house because of “Family obligations” but was found on social media to shopping at the “Apple store.” This caused an abundance of people to lash out on Brady. Some may think the players are following their Quarterbacks footsteps in not meeting the President.
Some passionate fans of the NFL are not very fond of the idea of players not wanting to go to the White House. Sophomore Paul Dreizler stated, “The players that are choosing not to go are disobeying tradition.” Senior Matt Palmer had a different viewpoint on the controversy in general by saying, “Speaks to the greater sentiment of how much we are divided on our political opinions.”
Owner of the Patriots Robert Kraft is very good friends with President Trump and has been for years. Kraft said in an interview with Fox News that, “Trump called him once a week after his wife died.”
This controversy has drawn a light to people that agree and completely back the stance of the players. Sophomore Dean Dulgerian said, “I think players should have there own choice and not be judged if they choose not to go to the White House”. A Similar point of view was conveyed by sophomore Jake Burghardt when he claimed, “Its freedom of speech and they have the right not to meet the president if they want.”
Patriots Running Back Legarrette Blount was not directly speaking about Donald Trump when being asked about not going. On the “Rich Eisen Podcast” He said, “I will not go… it’s just some of the things- I don’t feel welcome in that house. I’m just gonna leave it at that.”
There are many different viewpoints on this topic, but players will continue to be outspoken on whatever beliefs they may have. It is important that everyone shares their opinion and it’s a positive thing that professional athletes are continuing to do so.

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A Change in Tradition