Patriots players put on special shoes and bowled a few frames at Kings in Dedham Monday night.
No, it wasn’t a team-building exercise — President Trump’s controversial comments over the weekend brought the Pats closer than a night of bowling ever could — it was a fund-raiser for the Boston Medical Center’s effort to provide quality health care to city kids.
The annual event, begun seven years ago by former Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo, was hosted Monday by Super Bowl hero James White and attended by several current and former Pats players.
If you’re wondering whether the players are peeved at the president for calling Colin Kaepernick (and others who would kneel during the national anthem) a “son of a bitch,” the answer is yes.
But they were measured — certainly more measured than the president — in their remarks Monday night.
White called Trump’s comments “definitely disappointing,” and said there’d been a lot of discussion among teammates about how to respond.
“As a team we always stick together no matter what the situation is,” he said. “Everybody’s going to have different opinions, but we tried to talk about it, to come together to figure out the best way to respond.”
Asked if he was angered by the president’s suggestion that athletes who kneel during the anthem to protest police brutality and racism should be fired, White shrugged.
“You can’t control what he says,” the running back said. “Everybody has a right to free speech.”
Devin McCourty said players across the NFL had been in touch with each other prior to Sunday’s kickoff, hastily organizing the pregame protest.
“If someone steps in and tries to bash or divide the NFL, everyone should view that as a problem, and you really saw that come to light Sunday,” said McCourty. “We talked as players and a lot of us felt a certain way and that’s what we decided to do.
McCourty said he was stirred to act not out of disrespect for the military or the American flag, but by a recent incident in New Hampshire involving a biracial teenager who may have been the victim of a hate crime.
“Most of you have never heard that story because it doesn’t hit the mainstream media,” he said. “Nobody wants to talk about that. But what about that kid and that kid’s mom? He was hanging from a tree. I think about that and my little bit of courage was taking a knee Sunday.”
Others attending the Mayo Bowl at Kings included Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, former Sox pitcher Lenny DiNardo, former Pats players Joe Andruzzi and Tedy Bruschi, and current players Phillip Dorsett, Nate Ebner, and David Andrews.