This article will be updated as more players join the boycott.
If politics has always been operating under the maxim “decisions are made by those who show up”, the new era of Trump and the collaborator/resistor delineation it comes with is spawning a new dynamic: political statements are made by those who don’t show up.
It’s a founding tenet of why we started Weekend Caucus — you can’t separate the political from anything, especially sport. A decision by any player to attend or not attend the customary post-Super Bowl Presidential photo op is inherently political, regardless of the reasons given. Brady snubbed Obama (“for family commitments” he lied) in 2015, but is cheerily attending Trump’s. Their bromance is well documented.
So it should have come as no surprise when New England Patriot players who have been critical of Trump began coming out of the woodwork against a White House visit.
Martellus Bennett was no surprise as the first domino to fall, he stated his intention in January before the Patriots even won Super Bowl LI.
“People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter.”
Bennett is long known for breaking the mold of a traditional NFL player. He’s a children’s book author, filmmaker, and novelist. His company The Imagination Agency got an unusual plug during the intro to one Sunday Night Football game:
He was soon followed in the boycott by Devin McCourty, his partner in crime during the wave of Black Lives Matter protests during the pregame national anthems.
“I don’t feel accepted in the White House. With the President having so many strong opinions and prejudices, I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”
Three days later four more Patriots announced their intention to join the boycott: defensive end Chris Long (broadcaster and Raiders’ star Howie Long’s son), running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch and linebacker Dont’a Hightower.
Chris Long, it’s worth mentioning is white. His reaction to others who have pointed out that fact is priceless, when discussing the national anthem protests:
“I play in a league that’s 70 percent black and my peers, guys I come to work with, guys I respect who are very socially aware and are intellectual guys, if they identify something that they think is worth putting their reputations on the line, creating controversy, I’m going to listen to those guys.”
His responses to the online hate he’s been getting have been even more priceless, we’ll just leave them here for Weekend Caucus readers to enjoy while we’re waiting for more Patriots to join him:
Weekend Caucus’ favorite:
and one last mic drop:
We’re updating this list as more players join:
- Martellus Bennett
- Devin McCourty
- Chris Long
- LeGarrette Blount
- Alan Branch
- Dont’a Hightower