BOSTON, Massachusetts-- At least three Super Bowl-winning Patriots players have said they will skip the team's White House visit, a tradition for championship teams.
Linebacker Dont'a Hightower bowed out today, telling ESPN, "Been there, done that." He visited after his college team, Alabama, won the NCAA championship.
Tight end Martellus Bennett announced his decision not to go immediately after the game, saying, "It is what it is. People know how I feel about it. Just follow me on Twitter." Bennett has been notoriously outspoken about Trump, joking he might move to outer space after Trump was elected.
Safety Devin McCourty told "Time" magazine he doesn'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 other won't."
The number of team members absent may grow. Running back James White said he hasn't made up his mind whether or not to go.
No date has been set for this year's ceremony. Last year's ceremony, honoring the Broncos, happened in June.
This isn't the first time players have skipped meeting the president. Quarterback Tom Brady didn't attend his team's 2015 visit with former President Barack Obama, citing "family issues."