Tom Brady Pulls Out of New England Patriots White House Visit After Aaron Hernandez Suicide
While quarterback Tom Brady is expected to make the trip to Washington, D.C., other players have decided to skip the event
The same day as former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez hanged himself in his prison cell while serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of Odin Lloyd, members of his former team – Super Bowl LI champs – are headed to the White House. However, quarterback Tom Brady, who said in October that he considers President Donald Trump a friend, will not be among them.
Although Brady was expected to make the trip to Washington, D.C., he announced on Wednesday that he would not be attending due to “personal family matters.”
“In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters,” Brady said in a statement to Sports Illustrated.
Brady’s mother has been battling cancer since before the Super Bowl, although it is unknown if that is keeping him from joining the team at the White House.
Hernandez was found unresponsive in his cell at Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Lancaster, Massachusetts, about 3 a.m. Wednesday, according to a statement from the state Department of Correction.
“Mr. Hernandez was in a single cell in a general population unit,” the statement reads. “[He] hanged himself utilizing a bedsheet that he attached to his cell window. Mr. Hernandez also attempted to block his door from the inside by jamming the door with various items.”
He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. He was 27.
The suicide comes just days after he was acquitted in a separate double murder case.
Hernandez was selected by the Patriots during the fourth found of the 2010 NFL Draft. He signed a four-year contract that included a $200,000 signing bonus. He started the 2010 season as the youngest active player in the NFL and played three seasons before he was arrested for murder.
WATCH: Aaron Hernandez Dead After Hanging Himself in Prison Cell
Aside from Brady, other Patriots players have decided to skip the event — some citing Trump’s political views.
Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Dont’a Hightower and Alan Branch, have all said they would not accept an invitation to visit the White House, NBC News reports. However, many players did attend the event and posed outside the White House with their trophies.
“I wouldn’t spend time away from my family to shake the hand of a guy I wouldn’t want to meet with or talk to,” Branch, who has a son and three daughters, said. “I can’t see myself going and then hanging out with my kids and pretending everything was all right.”
Brady previously said he has no negative feelings about his teammates’ decision, telling NBC Sports, “Everybody has their own choice.”
“Putting politics aside, it never was a political thing At least, it never was to me,” Brady said. “It meant you won a championship and you got to experience something cool with your team, with your teammates. You only get so much time with your family and friends, and if people don’t want to go they don’t want to go and that’s their choice.”