FOXBORO -- Matthew Slater is as good a gauge as any when reporters are looking to take the temperature of the Patriots locker room on a particular topic. The Pro Bowler and captain was recently selected to serve yet again as the team's union representative, and he is comfortable expounding on big-picture issues facing the team.
On Tuesday, Election Day, the topic was politics. And while Slater is often willing to entertain reporters on most subjects, that was one he didn't really want to touch.
"I’m going to refrain from commenting on any political matters at this time," he said.
That was almost the universal sentiment for Patriots players asked for their thoughts on the election and whether or not the locker room was a place to have political discussions with teammates or coaches. Many said it wasn't.
"The locker room, I don’t think is a huge place for guys really to talk politics," receiver Chris Hogan said. "There’s always a couple of guys that will be in here butting heads or something like that, but . . ."
"I’m going to keep the political stuff out of these questions right now," defensive end Rob Ninkovich said.
Ninkovich's locker mate Chris Long went said that he didn't discuss politics with teammates -- though he was mentioned as a sounding board for teammate Devin McCourty when McCourty and Martellus Bennett raised their fists after the playing of the national anthem before the season-opener -- and went so far as to say that he had chosen not to vote.
"I’m not voting," he said, "but, really, that’s not a conversation I want to go down."
Slater did at least acknowledge that he'll be at the polls at some point on Tuesday.
"Not yet. We'll get out tonight, though. After practice," he said. "My mom, my wife. I got the text today to make sure to vote. I think too many people, especially as an African American in America, too many people have had to sacrifice and die for me to have the right to vote so I'm definitely going to exercise that."