Malcolm Mitchell: 'Almost brought me to tears' to be mentioned by president
The visit to the White House is customary for the team that wins the Super Bowl, but not all players are expected to attend, with some specifically avoiding the event because of Trump, including Alan Branch, who spoke with the Boston Globe this week.
"Need some help?" Gronkowski asked Spicer.
According to the Sporting News, six Patriot players have announced they are not attending the traditional visit. When you're congratulating a team for pulling off the greatest comeback win in Super Bowl history, you nearly have to go out of your way not to mention the man who threw for 466 yards, three touchdowns and eventually won the game's MVP award.
Trump, who is on favorable terms with coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, was unable to see another one of his friends on Wednesday.
Trump reflected on the Patriots for approximately 10 minutes before handing the podium over to Kraft, who called the Super Bowl 51 win "unequivocally our sweetest victory".
During the ceremony on the South Lawn, Trump praised the Patriots for their Super Bowl-record 25-point second-half comeback to beat the Atlanta Falcons.
With the Patriots lined up behind him, Trump said: 'No team has been this good for this long'. One person he noticeably didn't bring up though was the team's MVP, Tom Brady, who revealed earlier in the day he couldn't come to the ceremony because he was "attending to some personal family matters". Still, one would think that Brady would give a little bit more notice if he planned on being with his family instead of partying at the White House.
While the day was created to be festive, the Patriots were left to deal with the news that former tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in a prison cell hours before the White House visit, according to MA prison officials. Should the Patriots decline to match, the defending Super Bowl champion would receive a first-round pick compensation from Malcolm Butler's new team.
Hernandez was serving a life sentence for murder but was recently acquitted on separate double murder charges.
Reports indicate a handful of other players chose not to attend for political reasons.
"I am stunned - stunned - that they're going to go ahead with the ceremony today", Ley said on SportsCenter.
Defensive back Devin McCourty told Time Magazine that "I don't feel accepted in the White House".
Trump then jumped into the story of how Belichick wrote him an encouraging letter during the contentious presidential election.