The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots will visit the White House Wednesday to be honored by President Donald Trump -- but Tom Brady will not be present for the ceremony.
Brady announced Wednesday that he would miss the visit to attend to "personal family matters." Brady also missed the Patriots' visit to the White House following their victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless reacted to the surprising news on Wednesday's episode of "Undisputed."
This is an interesting decision given Brady's history
“Interesting… because I thought Tom Brady was one of the few athletes who were on President Trump’s -- nominee Trump at the time -- bandwagon early on. He had a hat positioned nice and neat in his locker, 'Make America Great Again.’
"And when he was asked? ‘Oh jeez it’s just a hat. Means nothing.’
"Really? Of all the hats you could have had. Under Armour? Maybe [plug] those mattresses or those Uggs? You chose that hat.
"Now he does have a relationship that predates President Trump running for public office. I’ve got no problem with that. I don’t judge Tom Brady by his politics or his religion or whatever. I look at Tom Brady the quarterback, critique his play, offer analysis on that. Who he supports? I don’t have a problem with that."
The Patriots could be the last championship team to visit the White House
"But moving forward, let’s be real. All the way. If Tom Brady would have shown up, Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick -- all those who have been supporters of President Trump ...
"If they show up, do you actually think President Trump cares who else shows up? Because when you think about the Patriots, it’s those three people that you think about.
"… It’s going to be very interesting moving forward [to see] how many of these teams [show up].
"Because let’s just say for the sake of argument, we think the Cavaliers, the Warriors or the Spurs. We know how coach Popovich feels about this man. We know how Steve Kerr feels about this man. LeBron James campaigned for SecretaryClinton, so we know how he feels about this situation. What’s the likelihood of one of those teams winning the championship and showing up?"
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
How many teams are actually going to show up moving forward?
"Now the University of South Carolina women, they won the NCAA tournament. Women. Black. They showing up, Skip?
"So moving forward, how many of these teams that win championships -- because that’s a goal. You win a championship, you go meet the president.
"I don’t have a problem with who goes and doesn’t go. I was very fortunate. Played 14 years in the NFL, won three Super Bowls, not one time did I go. Twice there was a democrat in office, President Clinton. Last time I won, President Bush was in office. I didn’t go. Now I didn’t go because it was a political stance, I didn’t go because it was in the middle of a week and I wasn’t missing a training session.”
Mark J. RebilasMark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Brady crafted his statement very carefully
“So you didn’t go, and yet I wonder how your teammates felt about going together as a united group to our nation’s capital to be honored by our country’s leader. That’s a pretty big deal, no matter whether you [support the President.]I’m sure there’s a lot of players who have gone to the White House to be honored by a president whose politics they didn’t agree with. So it surprises me you wouldn’t just go with your teammates.
"… In this case, it’s a billion-to-one shot that the big three of the dynastic New England Patriots, who just one a fifth Super Bowl, had previous relationships with the president that many people have big problems with. And it’s possible that Tom Brady now has some new issues with with this president after he became president. I don’t know that, but Brady was very careful in his statement to say ‘in light of some recent developments,’ and we know his mother has been fighting a dreadful disease. He says he has to attend to family matters. So he’s making it pretty clear in the statement that it’s not that he’s choosing not to go to the White House to be honored by this president.
"I think he’s saying ‘this is a personal reason,’ that he’s not going.”
Kirby LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
President Trump's rise to power has put Tom Brady in an awkward situation
“I’m going to be honest. I’m going to be all the way, 1,000 percent honest. I would be really conflicted if I had a personal friend [that] ascended to be the President of the United States and I get an opportunity to go and to meet him in his new home. That’s a different dynamic. I can understand the position, or the juxtaposition that Tom Brady’s in.
"Because he’s saying ‘I knew him before he was this. We had a relationship before he was this. We ate, we played golf, we did things together before he was this.’
"And so now, because of some of the things that have happened, some of the things that he’s said, some of things that have come out … whatever it may be, I’ve got to tread carefully with how I address my friend. Because Tom Brady views him as a friend. Now, no matter what you think of their relationship, no matter what you think of President Trump, Tom Brady views him as a friend. He has a very different relationship than most people in the U.S. So I would be really conflicted if I had a friend of 10, 15 years ascend to the office of the president and all of a sudden I’ve got to be careful what I say about him. I’ve got to be careful if I’m seen with him. I’ve got to be careful with my views of him.”
Greg M. CooperGreg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Brady may not want to send the wrong message by attending
“Maybe it is because of Tom’s mother, and we know how close he is with his family. Maybe this is true. But in sports, I’ve become very cynical. I’ve become very skeptical of what people say.
"It’s kind of like the Dustin Johnson situation. Yeah he fell down a flight of steps … is this what really happened?
"And so now, is it a situation where maybe they’re saying, ‘Well, Tom, this isn’t going to look right. You didn’t go for President Obama. And then, all of sudden two years later, you turn around and you go?’ Maybe it was a situation like that. Whatever the case may be, I just think moving forward for this White House, it’s going to be difficult. Because [take a] baseball team. What’s on a baseball team, Skip? A lot of foreign-born players. Dominicans, Hispanics, Latinos, Cuban-born players. What are they going to do with that?”