In the lead up to the Super Bowl, a lot of my fellow progressives who lived outside of New England were rooting for the Atlanta Falcons because Donald Trump had repeatedly bragged about being on good terms with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. It even got to the point that one person claimed anyone who supported the Patriots were actually supporting white supremacy.
Those blanket statements are turning out to be even more ridiculous than I previously thought because there have been at least six players who claim they will not go to the White House if Donald Trump invites the team. Most of the boycotting players have made it clear that they don’t support Trump and, in perhaps the most telling statement, Devin McCourty said the “basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House.”
LeGarrette Blount also echoed McCourty’s sentiments by saying he didn’t feel welcome at the White House. These sentiments certainly seem to suggest people are onto something when they talk about the tone of the Trump Administration, but it also makes it clear that the New England Patriots are not united behind Trump like some suggested.
In fact, there were several opportunities for players to express political opinions in the lead up to the election but most opted to focus on politics. Even Tom Brady’s support of Trump came from things like Trump bragging about him and reporters spotting a “Make America great again” hat in his locker.
Those who might oppose Trump also mostly stayed quiet during the season — even though the NFL season started out with political controversy as Colin Kaepernick decided not to stand during the National Anthem as a way to protest police brutality. McCourty and Bennett were the only players from New England who participated in that protest and they did so by raising a fist.
This is all to show that while most people stayed quiet about politics during the season, those who did speak out seem to be evenly divided on both sides of the aisle. More importantly the team focused on coming together towards their goal of winning the Super Bowl — a goal they accomplished.
The only reason the team got cast as pro-Trump was because key figures on the coaching staff and front office as well as the eventual Super Bowl MVP were the people who had publicly supported Trump. Now that the season is over and players have a little more freedom to speak out about their political beliefs, more and more players are coming out against the administration.
This all goes to show that those who rooted against New England because a few members of the organization were pro-Trump were wrong to do so. It’s simply a shame that people don’t do their homework on the issue before trying to promote their own agenda.