CNN – Four more New England Patriots said they won’t be accompanying their teammates to the White House later this year, where the Super Bowl 51 champions are set to be honored by President Donald Trump.

Defensive end Chris Long, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch and linebacker Dont’a Hightower are joining defensive back Devin McCourty and tight end Martellus Bennett, who announced their plans to boycott the visit early this week, citing their opposition to Trump.
 
McCourty and Bennett earlier this week cited political differences with Trump as the reason for their snub. But other Patriots have different reasons.
 
Branch, who visited the White House in 2014 when President Barack Obama was in office, said Wednesday that he is going to “hang out with the family” instead.
 
Hightower, who also skipped the visit in 2014, told ESPN’s Mike Reiss that he’s “Been there, done that.”
 
Long slammed a journalist who called on him to boycott the visit, tweeting that he “planned on skipping,” but “hadn’t been asked.”
 
“Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call,” he continued.
 

And Blount told Rich Eisen Thursday, “I will NOT be going to the White House. I don’t feel welcome in that house. I’ll leave it at that.”

CNN has reached out to the Patriots’ representatives and the White House for comment and has not yet received a response.

Patriots running back James White suggested that he might skip the visit as well, but has not made up his mind.

“I’ll wait ’til the time comes and decide then,” White said on Tuesday.


Let me start by saying that I’m not a real big political guy. I have a firm belief that this entire world is insane due to notion that there are a lot of people who can’t get over the fact that there are others out there who possess different ideologies than themselves when it comes to politics (and religion as well). This has never been more evident than over the past year and a half. America just witnessed the biggest shitstorm of an election in its history, and people still can’t stop dwelling on it. I don’t care who you’re for or what you believe in, the reality is that Donald Trump won the presidency, and he’s going to hold that job for at least the next four years. Continuously bitching about it and protesting is not going to change anything.

What really annoys me, though, is that the media continues to shove it down our throats that most people don’t like Donald Trump. I’m pretty sure we all get that by now. The man has the lowest approval rating of any President in the history of the United States, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to climb up anytime soon. However, the media has gotten so out of hand that it has created this trend where people everywhere seem to want to exercise their first amendment for the first time in their lives to publicly voice their disapproval of the President. I have to say, in my honest opinion, this is simply a giant case of fear mongering started by the media. I know people HATE Donald Trump, but if he was truly hated this much, he wouldn’t be our President. There are obviously a lot of people that voted for him in silence.

In fact, most people that voted for Trump are still walking around with fear of others who voted differently finding out and taking their heads off. This type of fear is magnified 1,000% when it comes to people in the public spotlight. Famous people that voted for Trump are so afraid that to share their true political beliefs that they remain silent due to fear of public humiliation. So it’s not surprising to me that players on the New England Patriots are experiencing anxiety when it comes to the backlash they’ll receive if they visit the White House. And this goes for everyone – no matter who these players voted for. Some players that voted for Trump will publicly back out because they’re afraid people will identify their true colors if they do go. And some players that voted for Clinton will publicly back out so that they can stay in good hands with the people that will eviscerate them for being a traitor. It’s pretty fucking pathetic that it’s gotten to this point in sports, nonetheless.