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  • The New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett.

    The New England Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett. | Photo: Reuters

Published 12 February 2017

This could mark the biggest boycott by an NFL championship team in history – which could prove embarrassing to the president, who was rooting for the Patriots.

The list of NFL players who will not go to the White House to meet President Donald Trump is growing, as at least six New England Patriots said they will not be attending an event over the president’s rhetoric and policies after last week's Super Bowl victory.

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Tight end Martellus Bennett was the first to declare he would not be going to Trump’s White House even before his team’s recent win. “It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter,” he said when asked about the reason behind skipping the party. He has made his dislike with the newly-elected president clear through his Twitter account.

Meanwhile, free safety Devin McCourty made his reason for not going even clearer. “Basic reason for me is 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.”

Running back LeGarrette Blount also said he won't be going to the so far unscheduled event with President Trump because “I don’t feel welcome in that house. I’ll leave it at that.” Defensive end Chris Long, who is white, said he would not be going for “plenty of serious political reasons.”

Others seem to give non-political reasons for not joining the party such as being with their families and/or they have been to previous events and not as thrilled to go again. Running back James White has kept the door open on whether he will go, saying he will make a decision when he gets an official invitation.

This could mark the biggest boycott in history by an NFL championship team to the White House – which could prove embarrassing to the president, especially since he was rooting for the Patriots.

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A no-show from at least six players would also be a strong message, given that the Patriots’ three most important figures, team owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady, are aligned in some form or fashion with the controversial president.

Many African-American NFL stars were inspired by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick when he kicked off a protest of taking a knee and refusing to stand up for the U.S. national anthem in August.

His protest was against police brutality and the killing of Black people. He said he would continue his protest until the country achieves social justice and equality.

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