Tom Brady will not join his New England Patriots at the White House to be honored for their Super Bowl win due to personal matters.
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today,” he wrote in a statement. “Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remembers. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will (sic) back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”
Brady joins at least six other Patriots in skipping the visit. His circumstances are a bit different than the others. During the week of the Super Bowl, Brady revealed that his mother Galynn had been battling cancer for two years.
UPDATE: The Boston Herald reports he is in California with her.
There’s a healthy amount of speculation that some of Brady’s motivation may be brand-related. He’s tried to distance himself from Donald Trump after a Make America Great Hat in his locker sparked a flurry of questions. The would-be president continued to speak glowingly about Brady even as the quarterback tried to diminish the relationship. Gisele Bundchen said in a February Instagram post that she and her husband don’t back Trump.
A prolonged and warm handshake with Trump, who is struggling with his own popularity, is likely a photo-op Brady wouldn’t mind passing up.
Owner Robert Kraft, who donated to the Trump campaign, and letter-writer Bill Belichick are still expected to attend.