The New England Patriots’ visit to the White House should be a whitewash.
In other words, all black Patriot players should boycott the April 19th meeting scheduled with President Donald Trump.
They should let quarterback Tom Brady, coach Bill Belichick and owner Bob Kraft celebrate their Super Bowl LI win with one someone, by all accounts, who isn’t a team player and is about as divisive as anyone in modern time to hold the highest office in the land.
And before you say this day shouldn’t be political, it just is – for many reasons, in fact.
Just because you play football doesn’t mean you have to go along with something you see as not right, not just.
Pro athletes are people, too. They have the same worries and concerns just like people who work at the post office or drive a bus for a living.
That’s why at least five black Patriots – Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, LeGarrette Blount, Alan Branch and Dont’a Hightower – from the Super Bowl LI team have already committed to NOT going.
Some of the players cited objections to Trump’s policies and rhetoric. Sound reasons, indeed.
Chris Long, a white Patriots player, has refused to attend as well.
Bennett and Long both have left the team via free agency.
The rest of that black players on the roster should take a nice long look in the mirror.
If they did, they would realize the best place to be on that day would be at home, not in Washington, D.C. for a photo-op with someone who has mostly disparaged minorities in this country.
It’s not about Democrat or Republican. It’s bigger than that. It’s about right and wrong. It’s about standing up for what you believe.
Go read your history and see the stand Muhammad Ali took, refusing to go along with war, something he didn’t believe in.
And while Ali was beat up and called names for sticking to his convictions, he wound up in the end looking more right than wrong about his decision.
The same can be said about Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who both raised a black-gloved fist at the 1968 Olympics during their medal ceremony. They were showing support for the treatment of their fellow brothers and sisters back at home.
Smith said later that night about that stunning moment on the podium. “We are black and we are proud of being black. Black America will understand what we did tonight.”
The same would be said if all the black Patriots stayed clear of being in a picture that has a chance of being dubious as time goes on.
Sure, many Patriots fans will be mad. Who cares. It’s not about them. The players did their jobs, helped the Pats win the Super Bowl. They owe no one anything thing else, just themselves a clear conscience.
The move to be a no-show at the White House wouldn’t be unprecedented. After all, Brady skipped the visit to the White House in 2015. Brady claimed it was a scheduling conflict. Many simply believe Brady had issues with President Obama’s policies.
No matter how you look at it, Brady refused a visit with the first black president in history. It was a huge snub. Period.
Let’s also not forget that Brady was the one that introduced politics in the locker room. He had one of Trump’s red “Make America Great Again” caps in his locker.
Of course, people wanted to know if Brady stood with Trump.
The strange thing is that Brady used to talk up his friendship with Trump. He has said before in the media that Trump “always called (him) after games” and that the two have golfed together many, many times.”
But not as much anymore. It will be interesting to see Brady and Trump in public for the first time in a while.
That’s the picture I want to see, Brady and Trump palling around and cheesing for the cameras.
If the black and minority players on the Patriots do the right thing, that picture will be absent of color.
Best of all, it would send a message to both the president and others in this country both black and white.
Black athletes have been at the forefront of changing attitudes of some in this country for decades. Here’s another chance. Hopefully, they make it count.