Mar-tell-us how you really feel

Martellus Bennett receives backlash for planning to skip team White House visit


Cleveland Browns’ Ibraheim Campbell takes down New England Patriots’ Martellus Bennett after a first quarter catch on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. The Browns lost 33-13. (Phil Masturzo/Akron Beacon Journal/TNS)

by Nahom Nega, Staff Writer

It’s been a tradition for Super Bowl champions to visit the White House ever since the Pittsburgh Steelers were welcomed for a visit in 1980 by President Jimmy Carter. It actually became a well kept tradition for every U.S. championship team to visit the White House. But over the years many players have chosen to skip out.

After the Patriots’ unbelievable win against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Martellus Bennett said that he won’t be attending the White House visit. This brought him under a lot of heat, because most viewed that it was a “disrespectful move towards the President.”

It’s truly unusual to see “disrespectful” and “Trump” being used in the same sentence with Trump not being referred to as the “disrespectful” one.

Is it really disrespectful to decline the invitation to visit one of the most disrespectful public figures in the world?

In 2012, Tom Brady also refused to attend the team visit to the White House after their Super Bowl win over the Seattle Seahawks but that didn’t cause as much controversy as Bennett’s refusal to attend. I wonder where all these people getting upset with Bennett were when Brady skipped the visit to the White House.

Bennett is one of the most care-free and vocal players in the NFL. If he feels someway about a topic or in this case the President he’s going to express it as it his right to express himself in any form he pleases.

When asked about the reason he won’t be attending the visit he simply said, “People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter.”

Bennett isn’t the only Patriots player that won’t be attending the visit to the White House. Six other players including, Devin Mccourty, Chris Long and Dont’a Hightower have all come out saying that they will not take part in the visit.

“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,” Devin McCourty told Time in a text message.

Unlike Tom Brady, all these players were who refused to attend the White House visit weren’t afraid to express the reason publicly. What was Tom Brady’s reason for missing the visit? ‘Prior family commitment.’ But he was seen later that same day at a gym as well as an Apple store.

Notable players to decline White House visit invitation:

James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers LB

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is sandwiched between Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons on a first down reception in the fourth quarter during the AFC Divisional Playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/TNS)

James Harrison missed the visit both in 2006 and in 2009 because he didn’t think the honor was a big deal. “If you want to see the Pittsburgh Steelers, invite us when we don’t win the Super Bowl,” Harrison said.

Presidents at that time:George W. Bush(2006,43) Barack Obama(2009, 44)

Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins Goaltender

Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) gloves a save as Washington Capitals center Brooks Laich (21) looks for a rebound in the second period of Game 6 of the NHL Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., Sunday, April 22, 2012. The Bruins defeated the Capitals in overtime, 3-4. (Chuck Myers/MCT/TNS)

Like Bennett, Tim Thomas is very vocal about his political opinion. He is a well known member of the Tea Party. After the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 Thomas refused to attend the visit to the White House. “I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level,” Thomas wrote in a facebook post.

President at that time: Barack Obama(44)

Larry Bird, Boston Celtics Forward

May 23 — Indiana Pacers’ coach Larry Bird objects to a call in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game at Market Square Arena. The Pacers defeated the Bulls 107-105 in game three of the Eastern Conference finals. The Bulls lead the series 2-1. (INS) PL (jak61860) 1998 (Matt Kryger/Indianapolis News Service/TNS)

After the Celtics defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1984 NBA Finals, Larry Bird pulled out of the visit to the white house without a full explanation, just stating “If the President wants to see me, he knows where to find me,” Bird said.

President at that time: Ronald Reagan(40)