Brady fine with team-mates skipping White House visit

(FILES) This file photo taken on February 05, 2017 shows Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots holding the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.Five baby goats were brought to training camp practice on August 3, 2017 by the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots as the NFL club celebrated superstar quarterback Tom Brady's 40th birthday. Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion with the Patriots, has often been tagged with the term "GOAT" as an abbreviation for "Greatest Of All Time" and he celebrated this birthday as he has many others, with a workout at the Patriots training camp.Each baby goat wore a Patriots jersey bearing the number 12 worn by Brady with a huge "GOAT" sign displayed in tribute to Brady. (AFP Photo/Timothy A. CLARY )

Los Angeles (AFP) - New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Tuesday he had no problem with team-mates choosing to skip a likely White House visit following their Super Bowl victory.

So far six Patriots players -- Martellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, Devin McCourty, Dont'a Hightower, Chris Long and Alan Branch -- have confirmed they will not attend the traditional reception for NFL championship-winning teams.

Some of the players have said they will snub the visit as a protest to President Donald Trump, who has regularly described Brady as a friend.

Brady told Pro Football Talk Live on Tuesday that he had no issue with team-mates deciding not to attend the White House.

"Everybody has their own choice," said Brady, who missed the Patriots' White House visit in 2015 hosted by President Barack Obama.

"There's certain years, like a couple years ago, I wanted to go and didn't get the opportunity based on the schedule," Brady said.

"We didn't get told until I think like 10 days before we were going, and at that point I had something I'd been planning for months and couldn't get there."

Brady did attend three other White House celebrations following New England Super Bowl wins -- in 2001, 2003 and 2004 -- during George W. Bush's presidency. Brady also attended a reception hosted by Bill Clinton in 1997 when Michigan won the national college title.

"It really is a great experience," Brady said. "Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing. At least, it never was to me. It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates."

Meanwhile Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- also a friend of Trump -- said he was not bothered by players who chose not to attend.

"It's interesting, 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. This is the first time it's gotten any media attention," Kraft said Monday.

"Some other players have the privilege of going (to the White House) in college because they're on national championship teams. Others have family commitments. But this is America; we're all free to do whatever's best for us. We're just privileged to be in a position to be going."