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WATCH: Patriots owner asked about his players skipping White House visit
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At last count, six players from the Patriots team that won Super Bowl LI won’t visit the White House, many because they disagree with President Trump’s politics.

I’m not going to the White House,” safety Devin McCourty told TIME last week. “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.”

On Monday morning, Patriots owner Robert Kraft, after spending part of the weekend with Trump in Florida, spoke to the “Today Show” about his relationship with the president, and some of his players choosing to skip a visit to the White House.

“This is our fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years and every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go,” Kraft told Matt Lauer. “This is the first time it’s gotten any media attention.”

This isn’t entirely true. When Tom Brady skipped the White House visit in 2015, CBSSports.com (and other outlets) covered it.

“This is America. We’re all free to do whatever’s best for us,” Kraft continued. “We’re just privileged to be in a position to be going.”

In addition to Kraft, Trump considers Patriots coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady friends. And Kraft, a lifelong Democrat, explained before the Super Bowl why he’s close with Trump.

“When [Kraft’s wife] Myra died [in 2011], Melania [Trump] and Donald came up to the funeral in our synagogue, then they came for memorial week to visit with me,” Kraft told Gary Myers of the New York Daily News. “Then he called me once a week for the whole year, the most depressing year of my life when I was down and out. He called me every week to see how I was doing, invited me to things, tried to lift my spirits. He was one of five or six people that were like that. I remember that.”

Brady’s wife, Gisele, has barred him from talking publicly about politics but in December 2015 the Patriots quarterback spoke about Trump’s presidential run.

“I support all my friends in everything they do. I think it’s pretty remarkable what he’s achieved in his life,” he said at the time. “You’re going from business, kind of an incredible business man and then a TV star, and then getting into politics. It’s a pretty different career path. I think that is pretty remarkable.”

Fast-forward to election-day eve, November 2016 — Trump told supporters in Manchester, New Hampshire that Brady called him earlier in the day to say he voted for him, and then he read a letter of support he received from Belichick.

Not surprisingly, Trump predicted the Patriots would beat the Falcons.

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