US President Donald Trump was among friends on Wednesday as he welcomed the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots team to the White House, though the absence of star quarterback Tom Brady was glossed over.
This time, however, the media focused a lot of attention on the players who refused to attend due to their dislike of President Trump.
The Times on Wednesday used an Associated Press photo of the Patriots standing behind Obama on the south side of the White House in 2015. In 2015, the Patriots had won their first Super Bowl in 11 years and most of the players were enjoying their first opportunity to visit the White House. The 2015 photo included more than 40 support staff members, who were seated on the lawn this year, the team said.
Patriots players did not speak about Hernandez's death at the White House and team officials earlier said they would not comment.
Trump did not mention Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, who did not attend the ceremony after announcing Wednesday he would not go because of family matters. The President regaled attendees with a story about that letter, which Trump said was full of praise for his success.
The quarterback said he hoped the team could win another championship and visit the White House again soon, and wished his teammates well. However players Devin McCourty, Martellus Bennett, Chris Long, Dont'a Hightower and LeGarrette Blount all made a decision to skip the South Lawn visit for political differences.
Several Patriots players have already said they will not attend the ceremony.
Defensive back Devin McCourty told Time Magazine: "I don't feel accepted in the White House".
Trump, who is on favorable terms with coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, was unable to see another one of his friends on Wednesday.
According to Jeff How of The Boston Herald, the "family matters" Tom Brady mentioned is his mother, Galynn, who is battling cancer since past year. The highlight of the visit was not of who attended but rather who didn't.