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Super Bowl winners to boycott visit to the White House in Trump protest

New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett and defensive back Devin McCourty have promised to turn down the invitation.

Martellus Bennett.
Martellus Bennett.
Image: Gregory Payan

IF THE NEW England Patriots receive the traditional Super Bowl winner’s invitation to the White House, tight end Martellus Bennett won’t be involved in the visit to see Donald Trump.

Bennett told the Dallas Morning News he would not be attending the usual honour ceremony from the US President, all-but certain given Trump’s public support of the Patriots and star quarterback Tom Brady.

“I’m not going to go,” Bennett said. “It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter.”

Bennett’s tweets in the wake of the controversial travel ban against seven majority-Muslim countries imposed by Trump before being halted by a US judge spoke of inclusion and love trumping hate.

“Be the change you wish to see in the world,” Bennett tweeted. “If you want a world full of hate be hateful. If you want a world full of love be loving. America was built on inclusiveness not exclusiveness.”

He also tweeted: “If we plant seeds of awesomeness and love that’s what we will grow. If we plant seeds of ignorance and hate that’s what we will grow. Planting seeds is the easiest part of growing a garden tending to it and weeding that garden is the hard work.”

Bennett added that he is unconcerned about possible punishment for a Trump snub from Patriots owner Bob Kraft or Tom Brady, both friends and supporters of Trump.

I’m not really worried about that. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Politics are not a locker room topic for the Super Bowl champions, Bennett said.

“You just don’t bring that to work,” he said. “We all have our beliefs. We accept people for who they are.”

Patriots Falcons Super Bowl Football McCourty hugs Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Source: Eric Gay

Bennett is not the only Patriots player to announce a boycott of the ceremonial White House visit as defensive back Devin McCourty also says he will not be making the trip to Washington.

“Basic reason for me is I don’t feel accepted in the White House,” McCourty told Time Magazine. “With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t.”

According to McCourty, attending the White House ceremony is a personal choice. “I can’t imagine a way I go there,” he said.

While McCourty and Bennett are not the first players to turn down a visit to the White House, their reasoning resonates for many in the USA. After his presidential victory, Trump has become an even more controversial figure, especially in the wake of his recent executive order restricting travellers from seven predominantly Muslims nations from entering the USA.

© AFP 2017

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