The Patriots come from behind record-breaking win against the Falcons was one most exciting and dramatic games I’ve ever seen. In the following days since the win, I have been floating on Cloud 9 celebrating the surreal victory. I didn’t think I could be any happier with the Patriots.I was wrong.
Individual Patriots started stating that they’re not going to go to the White House for the customary team photo and WH tour. In exercising their rights to not participate in meeting Trump and visiting the White House, they’re going to send a message that the things he says and does are not acceptable. To my knowledge, this will be the most players ever who are opting to sit out.
Prior years have had a few people sit out here or there, but as of the time of this blog entry (2/10/18) there are 6 players (LaGarette Blount, Dont’a Hightower, Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennet, Chris Long and Alan Branch) who say they won’t go. My assumption is that several more won’t go by the time it actually happens. My hope is that there’s a considerable amount of players doing it, so the picture they take is very obviously missing a good chunk of people.
It’ll be interesting to see if Brady goes, considering the infamy around him and Trump. I support him going or sitting out. Players should be able to decide the way they want to handle this without being demonized in either direction. We can celebrate those taking a stand without getting upset at those who don’t.
The players that do sit out will likely be treated similar to Kaepernick and others who have silently protested. The argument will be “They have a right to do it, I support their right, but not why they’re sitting out. They’re bringing politics into sports which they shouldn’t do.” This is all simply code words for what people actually mean: “Shut up, play the game, and stop complaining about stuff. The problems you think exist do not exist and things are great and equal.” Somehow, at the same time, 60million people voting for Trump have said America isn’t as great as it once was and we need to “Make America Great Again” – just not the type of improvements to America that these players want.
I love the fact that the Patriots are so closely tied to Trump (Brady, Belichick, Kraft) but many Patriots fans are anti-Trump. It’s really forcing people to evaluate how they look at things and what means the most to them. My hope is that it reminds us how nuanced and complicated things can be, rather than separating and dividing us further. I hope the players sitting out are able to help continue that healthy discussion.
Bonus Thought: It makes me very happy that our team name is ‘Patriots’ as it’ll be even more symbolic that ‘Patriots are taking a stand’!
All opinions are my own and not representative of anyone other than me. -James