Donald Trump

White House visit for Super Bowl champion Patriots just wasn’t worth the trouble

White House visit for Super Bowl champion Patriots just wasn’t worth the trouble

Nobody with the Patriots will say it. Nobody has to.

The 2018 Super Bowl champion Patriots aren’t going to the White House to be feted by President Trump because it just isn’t worth the trouble.

Our buddy Mike Reiss noted in his Sunday column that each of the five previous Super Bowl-winning Patriots teams made their visits by the middle of May with four of the visits coming in April.

Meanwhile, it’s July. They ain’t going. This will be the fifth time since the tradition began in 1987 that the Super Bowl winners haven’t gone.

Why would the Patriots and the president just call the whole thing off? 

Where would you like to start?

Robert Kraft’s legal issues stemming from a charge of soliciting prostitution were front-and-center in late April. He probably wasn’t down with having every network in America running footage of him smiling and waving while analysts debated whether he should be somewhat, very or completely ashamed of himself.

Meanwhile, Trump probably wouldn’t be able to resist coming to Kraft’s defense with off-the-cuff comments that – if I know my presidential history – would be cosmically stupid or inappropriate.

Then there’s Tom Brady. Brady’s friendship with Trump – a marriage of mutual megastar convenience if there ever was one – cooled significantly when Trump’s candidacy went from a lark to a real thing.

Brady’s attempts to quietly distance himself from the president since 2016 without denouncing him have mostly succeeded. Trump, for his part, hasn’t been happy about it but he hasn’t verbally nuked Brady either.

He’d probably like to. One of the most bizarre anecdotes of the past few years (among many) was Trump melting down when he learned two years ago Brady wasn’t coming to the White House.

Tom Brady blew off the post SB51 visit (he also didn’t go after SB49) and Trump blew a gasket when he learned his would-be son-in-law wasn’t coming to the White House.

According to the Washington Post, the president was on Air Force One when he found out Brady was bailing. Trump called aides, associates and even Kraft to try and get Brady to change his mind.  

Brady, who said he skipped to spend time with his ailing mother Galynn, didn’t go and Trump never mentioned him during the event.

While Brady and Kraft have criticized or gone dark with Trump, his heartiest supporter in the organization — Bill Belichick — likely remains in his corner. Belichick famously penned a support letter for Trump that the president shared with New Hampshire supporters on the eve of the 2016 election.

As recently as last spring, Trump was getting intel from Belichick on what was bugging Brady with phone calls that were so long Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly felt compelled to remark upon them.

But Belichick realizes the optics of going to the White House without Brady and a number of the team’s core players who are staunchly against some of Trump’s methods and stances.

The focus won’t be on a celebration but on who does or does not attend and what that attendance infers about the individuals who do choose to go.

Why invite the potential for discord?

If you’re Belichick, why put yourself at public odds with players you value as much as Devin and Jason McCourty, Matthew Slater, Duron Harmon or Benjamin Watson? No upside.

(Personally, I’d go and use the opportunity to point out attendance at a White House event does not mean lockstep agreement with anything or everything the White House represents. And I also think a chance to look someone in the eye and express one’s misgivings about an issue – even for a moment – still has value. But who cares. I won no Super Bowl.)

This isn’t unprecedented. Trump disinvited the Eagles last year and put on a “Celebration of America” event instead. He was mad because a number of Eagles said they weren’t going.

Other occasions of teams not making it to Washington had more weighty issues keeping them away than the president’s feelings.

The ’85 Bears — the first team invited — didn’t go in early 1986 because of the space shuttle Challenger explosion two days after the Bears beat the Patriots. The ’85 Bears did get a makeup visit in 2011 with President Obama.  

The ’86 Giants were the first team to make it to Washington. When the Giants won again after the 1990 season, they didn’t visit. The early stages of the first Gulf War were unfolding.

The ’98 Broncos didn’t get to visit President Clinton who — in early 2000 — was grappling with impeachment exercises after the Monica Lewinsky affair.  And the ’99 Rams also didn’t visit Clinton who was trying to broker peace in the Middle East.

War stopped the 2002 Buccaneers from going to Washington as well with the invasion of Iraq.

Now though, after two years with no visit and the conversation around whether or not to go if invited remaining a divisive topic, it seems like post-championship White House visits are entering lame duck status.

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Donald Trump credits himself for Red Sox hot streak after White House visit

Donald Trump credits himself for Red Sox hot streak after White House visit

The Boston Red Sox played some inspired baseball this weekend against the Seattle Mariners.

Inspired, perhaps, by the President of the United States?

That's what the President of the United States seems to think. Following Boston's sweep of the Mariners, Donald Trump drew a correlation between the Red Sox's visit to the White House on Thursday and their current torrid pace.

It's true the Red Sox haven't lost since their squad -- minus Alex Cora, Mookie Betts, David Price, Xander Bogaerts and several others -- shook Trump's hand on the South Lawn.

It's also true they've played just three games since Thursday and been scorching hot well before visiting Washington D.C., going 8-2 in their previous 10 games before Thursday.

But if Trump wants to take credit for the turnaround of the 2019 Red Sox, so be it. He'll just give fans an easy scapegoat if things go south again.

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Steve Pearce laughs off Trump's snafu: 'It's OK. He's the president'

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USA TODAY Sports photo

Steve Pearce laughs off Trump's snafu: 'It's OK. He's the president'

BOSTON -- So it turns out Donald Trump isn't completely up to speed on Steve Pearce's 2019 season. 

That's OK with Pearce, who still can't believe all of the individual attention he received when the Red Sox were honored at the White House on Thursday.

Standing on the dais to the President's left, Pearce was name-dropped multiple times during the ceremony -- including one moment that provoked some cringes when the President assumed the World Series MVP had carried his October momentum into this season.

"You're doing well this year?" Trump asked. "Pretty well this year, right? Huh? He's doing well this year. When it counts, he does really well. Those are the ones we really like, huh?"

It was a nice sentiment. Unfortunately, Trump voiced it with Pearce locked in a season-long slump and hitting just .111. Pearce isn't sweating it.

"It's OK. He's the President," he told NBC Sports Boston with a laugh. "He's got a lot on his plate."

Pearce was good-humored about the minor snafu.

"I'm sure if he would've known, he probably would've been like, 'Hey, keep it up,'" Pearce said. "But I like how he followed it up. 'Hey, you step up when it matters,' and I was like, 'Yeah!'"

Pearce's slow start is no laughing matter, not with rookie Michael Chavis hammering the ball and needing a spot in the lineup, possibly by taking the right-handed at-bats that were supposed to be Pearce's at first base.

But the 13-year veteran hasn't lasted this long because he lacks confidence, and sometimes the tiniest spark can ignite a player. Maybe Pearce could even experience a Trump bump.

"It's going to come back," Pearce said. "It's going to. I've been playing this game my whole life. It's funny how it happens. Even the President knows. Baseball comes around. If not now, you'll do it later."

As for the visit itself, count Pearce among the players who considered it a great honor, despite the furor that seems to accompany all things Trump.

"It was definitely really cool," Pearce said. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. For him to say my name was neat. He reaches back and he acknowledged me during the speech and I shook his hand, that's cool that he gave us the time."

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