The New England Patriots visited the White House on Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl win alongside President Donald Trump, an annual tradition for the victor of the National Football League championship.
Galynn Brady, Tom's mother, has been battling cancer and is now in Boston which may be the reason for his inability to attend the event. The Boston Herald reported that Brady was spending time with his mother, who is fighting cancer. It was the team's fifth Super Bowl title since February 2002.
Despite Trump's claims at a New Hampshire rally that Brady said, "Donald, I support you, you're my friend and I voted for you", his wife Gisele Bündchen denied they supported the president.
Eli Rosenberg will be covering the visit live, and the ceremony will be livestreamed by NBCBoston.com and necn.com here beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET.
The visit was the first for the Trump administration under the age-old tradition of champions visiting the White House.
After taking pictures, the team rolled inside, where Gronkowski took a moment to interrupt press secretary Sean Spicer's briefing.
Athletes on championship-winning teams skip White House visits for any number of reasons - Tom Brady, a Trump supporter, attributed his absence Wednesday to "personal family matters", for example - but five Patriots players said they were boycotting Trump.
The rest of the Patriots will still attend the ceremony honoring the team for its Super Bowl win, despite Hernandez's suicide.
The President praised the Patriots for being supporters of the military and veterans, pointing out that seven wounded veterans from the Walter Reed Military Medical Center were also in attendance for Wednesday's ceremonies.
The president has a close friendship both team owner Robert Kraft and Belichick, referencing a letter of encouragement the coach wrote him before a crucial primary contest previous year.
In reality, the total delegation of people (players plus coaches plus staff) sent to the White House was almost the same in each year.
According to Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal, 34 players were pictured in the team photo with Trump, as well as head coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.
"I think I got this, but thank you", Spicer replied, and Gronkowski asked "Are you sure?"
"I don't feel accepted in the White House", McCourty said of his reason for boycotting the event.
"(When) my son grows up _ and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is _ I don't want him to say, 'Hey Dad, why'd you go when you knew the right thing was to not go?'" defensive end Chris Long said in a Green Stripe News video earlier this week.