BOSTON (CBS) — Add Devin McCourty to the list of players not expected to visit the White House. When the Patriots visit Washington to celebrate their win in Super Bowl LI, McCourty and Martellus Bennett will be among the players missing from the team.
McCourty said in a text message to TIME from the Patriots’ team bus: “I’m not going to the White House. … Basic reason for me is 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.”
President Trump congratulated the Patriots on his Twitter account shortly after they beat the Falcons in overtime of the Super Bowl.
What an amazing comeback and win by the Patriots. Tom Brady, Bob Kraft and Coach B are total winners. Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
McCourty is far from the first pro athlete who has skipped a White House visit, and is not likely to be the last. President Donald Trump’s widespread public controversy has led other athletes to pledge not to visit the White House or stay in Trump-branded hotels. Bennett said after the Super Bowl that he will not visit the White House, either.
McCourty and Bennett were seen earlier in the season raising their fists after the singing of the National Anthem before their Week 1 game against the Arizona Cardinals, showing solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and his controversial pre-game protests.
Tom Brady made headlines in 2015 when he skipped the Patriots’ visit to the White House with President Barack Obama, as did Bruins goalie Tim Thomas when he made public comments on social media speaking out against the U.S. government.