This morning, New England Patriots defensive end Chris Long confirmed he’ll join teammates Martellus Bennett, Donta Hightower and Devin McCourty in skipping the Patriots’ visit to President Trump’s White House:
The Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower became the latest to bow out when he told ESPN on Wednesday, “Been there, done that,” having visited with a championship Alabama team.
Tight end Martellus Bennett told reporters after the Super Bowl that he would not go: “It is what it is,” he said. “People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter.” The outspoken Bennett had joked that he might move to outer space after Donald J. Trump was elected.
The Pro Bowl safety Devin McCourty, a team captain, told Time magazine: “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.”
Additionally, Super Bowl hero running back James White is noncommittal about whether he’ll go. Considering it’s only been a few days since the Super Bowl and four players have already bowed out, it’ll be interesting to see what percent of the team does go.
Meanwhile, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady are all longtime friends with Trump. Each has been given chances to publicly rebuke Trump’s hateful white nationalist politics, but none has done so.
I’ll update this post if & when other players join the boycott. But for now … can we talk about how awesome Chris Long & Martellus Bennett are?
Long is so far the only white player to announce he’ll skip the White House trip. Last September, he was also one of the few white players willing to publicly express understanding of Colin Kaepernick protesting the national anthem over racial oppression:
I’ll make it pretty clear: I support my peers in exercising their right to protest. This is a wonderful country, and I think everyone agrees on that, but there are things in our country that can improve. I don’t think that by acknowledging as a white male that America isn’t the same for me, maybe, as it is for everybody, the same great place, that we’re complicit in the problem or that we’re saying America isn’t a great place.
If we’re saying there are incidents of oppression in this country, systematically or individually in this country, I don’t think saying, ‘Well, in country X, Y or Z it’s 10 times worse’ is making things any better. I think that may be true, but why can’t we improve?
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.
And I respect the anthem. I would never kneel for it. We all come from different walks of life and think differently about the anthem and the flag and what that means. But I think you can respect and find a lot of truth in what these guys are talking about, and not kneel. Those aren’t mutually exclusive ideas.
Long seems like an excellent guy. He once published an adorable list of the most embarrassing things he’s ever done.
And as seen in the picture at the top of the post, Bennett loves NASA:
“I do like outer space a lot,” Bennett said with a chuckle. “And after watching ‘The Martian,’ I’m trying to science the s— out of this game plan.”
How does a player do that?
Bennett didn’t get into details, but nonetheless seemed to take enjoyment in playing off actor Matt Damon’s notable line in “The Martian.”