Several Patriots players plan to skip White House visit

By Christopher Brito

/ CBS News

Brady and Belichick defy ages with win

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions for the sixth time in 17 years following their 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. While parading through Boston and visiting the White House has been a regular part of their celebration circuit, for multiple players, the latter won't be an option they'll consider being a part of.

The White House traditionally extends invitations to major American sports teams that have won a championship. While a formal invitation is still pending for the Patriots, whom President Trump predicted would win Super Bowl LIII, a growing list of players on the team have declined the possible meeting.

Patriots defensive back Devin McCourty told the Associated Press on Monday that he wouldn't join the Pats on the trip. His twin brother and teammate, Jason McCourty, had similar sentiments.

"I haven't thought about it, but I highly doubt it," Jason told the AP. He added there was "virtually zero chance he would go."

Safety Duron Harmon came up big for the Patriots in their victory, taking over for injured safety Patrick Chung in the second half. Following the game, he said he won't be joining his teammates when they visit the president during the offseason.

"Nah man," Harmon told TMZ Sunday. "They don't want me in the White House."

Duron Harmon of the New England Patriots speaks to the media on Jan. 31, 2019 in Atlanta. Getty

Harmon said he would rather visit former President Barack Obama, much like the Golden State Warriors did in their recent championship visit to the nation's capital.

Since Mr. Trump took office, many players from championship-winning teams have declined making the trip over the president's criticism of players who protest police brutality and racism during the national anthem.

In an interview with "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan, Mr. Trump said teams "love" visiting the White House.

"People love to come to the White House," Mr. Trump said. "So the Patriots were here two years ago, and I'm sure they'll be back."

All eyes are on Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft. In 2017, Brady missed the post-Super Bowl visit due to "personal family matters." Belichick and Kraft are friends with the presidents and wrote him an encouraging note before his election victory in 2016.

First published on February 5, 2019

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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