WASHINGTON (AP) – Star quarterback Tom Brady will not join his New England Patriots teammates when the Super Bowl champions visit the White House on Wednesday to accept congratulations from President Donald Trump for another NFL title.
The White House said it was notified that Brady was dealing with a “personal family matter” and will not attend the ceremony.
Trump’s welcome to the team was coming hours after the news from Massachusetts prisons officials that ex-Patriot tight end Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell.
Hernandez, who played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2012, was serving a life sentence for a murder conviction. Days ago, the 27-year-old former tight end was acquitted of a double murder.
A team spokesman said the Patriots were aware of the reports of Hernandez’s death but that the club wasn’t expected to comment.
Team owner Bob Kraft is a longtime Trump friend.
Some Patriots players intended to skip the White House visit because they oppose Trump’s presidency.
Read Brady’s full statement below:
“I am so happy and excited that our team is being honored at the White House today. Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come. Thank you to the President for hosting this honorary celebration and for supporting our team for as long as I can remember. In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters. Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will back on the South Lawn again soon. Have a great day!”
On Instagram, Brady posted a picture of his parents’ wedding day, saying that “For 48 years, my sisters and I have had the best example of love, friendship and compassion in our lives! And it’s so special to celebrate together! I love you mom and dad!”
(Copyright (c) 2017 Sunbeam Television. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)