New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft does not think his players declining to visit the White House is out of the ordinary.
During his Monday appearance on the "Today" show, Kraft denied that his relationship with United States president Donald Trump has strained his relationship with a number of his players and said they are free to make their own choices.
Alan Branch, Chris Long, Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, LeGarrette Blount and Dont'a Hightower thus far have said they are not interested in making the customary White House trip.
"Well, you know what's interesting, this is our, I'm happy to say, fifth Super Bowl in the last 16 years," Kraft said.
"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.
"You know, some of the players have the privilege of going 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."
Contrary to Kraft's comments, this is not the first time skipping the traditional White House visit has drawn attention.
The media highlighted Tom Brady's snub after the Patriots beat the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX when Barack Obama was in office.