Quarterback Tom Brady will not be with the Patriots contingent visiting the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl LI victory, according to ESPN.
In a statement, Brady said he is “unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters.”
ESPN reported that Brady’s mother, Galynn, who has been battling a serious illness, is currently in Boston. She was able to attend the Super Bowl in February, but couldn’t go to any other games last season. Brady spoke emotionally about her in the leadup to the Super Bowl and afterward.
“She’s been through a lot, you know, way harder than what I went through last night,” Brady said during the Super Bowl MVP news conference in February. “I’m just happy last night to be able to celebrate with her. And she hadn’t been to a game all year, so what a hell of a game for her to be at.”
Brady also did not attend the Patriots’ 2015 White House visit when Barack Obama was president, citing a family commitment. He attended all three White House visits in the early 2000s.
A handful of Brady’s teammates won’t be joining the team at the White House either, though for different reasons.
At different points, safety Devin McCourty, tight end Martellus Bennett, defensive end Chris Long, defensive lineman Alan Branch, and running back LeGarrette Blount have said they don’t agree with either President Trump’s behavior or his policies.
Linebacker Dont’a Hightower also isn’t attending, but hasn’t said why.
Branch told the Globe’s Annie Linskey that the players who aren’t going for political reasons did not coordinate.
“There is plenty of talk about politics in the locker room,” Branch said. “Everyone has their own views.”
Here is Brady’s statement in full:
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today. 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 remember. 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 be back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”