Tight end Martellus Bennett was the first player to back out of the meeting at the White House, which is typically held for members of the team that won the Super Bowl. Bennett announced he wouldn’t be attending the meeting shortly after the Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.
The next day, safety Devin McCourty joined Bennett, saying he would not attend the meeting because “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,” he said in an interview with Time.
Other team members soon followed: On Wednesday, linebacker Dont’a Hightower said he wouldn’t attend. Then on Thursday, running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive tackle Alan Branch, and defensive end Chris long all said they would not be attending the meeting with Trump.