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Six Patriots have said they won’t go on White House visit

Dont'a Hightower did not attend the Patriots’ 2015 White House visit and has said he will not go this year either.Gregory Payan/AP

The Patriots are scheduled to visit the White House Wednesday in honor of their Super Bowl LI championship, but several players have indicated they would not attend.

The visit will take place at 2:30 p.m. on the White House’s South Lawn. While it was originally reported by Politico that quarterback Tom Brady, who calls President Donald J. Trump a friend, would attend, news emerged Wednesday morning that he would not because he was attending to a personal matter.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft and coach Bill Belichick are also friends with Trump.

Here are the players who have said they won’t be going:


Alan Branch

■  In an interview with the Globe’s Annie Linskey, the defensive tackle said his decision was based on Trump’s sexist remarks that were caught on an Access Hollywood video.

“I wouldn’t spend time away from my family to shake the hand of a guy I wouldn’t want to meet with or talk to,” Branch said. “I can’t see myself going and then hanging out with my kids and pretending everything was all right.”

Branch re-signed with the Patriots on a two-year deal in March.

Martellus Bennett

■  The tight end is no longer with the Patriots – he signed with the Packers as a free agent in March – although former players are usually invited for visits such as this.

But even before the Super Bowl, Bennett indicated he was not inclined to visit the White House if the Patriots won.

“Most likely not, because I don’t support the person in it,” he told the Detroit Free Press at Super Bowl Opening Night.

After the Patriots won, he confirmed it, and said he does not fear backlash for his decision even though the Patriots have several close connections to Trump.

Devin McCourty

■  The safety told Time Magazine he wouldn’t go.


“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” McCourty said. “With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”

Dont’a Hightower

■  The linebacker went on trips to the White House while a college player at Alabama, but told ESPN he wasn’t going this time. “Been there, done that,” Hightower said.

Hightower also did not go when the Patriots visited the White House in 2015 during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Chris Long

■  After being called out by New York Daily News columnist Chuck Modiano, whose “open letter” to Long urged him to follow up on the stance he took when he supported Colin Kaepernick, Long revealed his choice in a Twitter response to Modiano.

“Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn’t been asked. Don’t need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not ‘joining’ anyone. My call,” Long tweeted.

Long announced in March that he would not return to the Patriots for the 2017 season, and later signed with the Eagles.

LeGarrette Blount

■  The running back appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and told him “I don’t feel welcome in that house. I’ll leave it at that.”

Blount’s status remains uncertain for next year. The Patriots signed running back Rex Burkhead and made an offer to restricted free agent Mike Gillislee.

Follow Matt Pepin on Twitter at @mattpep15.