Patriots' Long planning to skip White House visit

by
John David Mercer / USA TODAY Sports

The number of New England Patriots players planning to skip the customary trip to the White House now stands at four.

The latest is defensive end Chris Long, who joins safety Devin McCourty, tight end Martellus Bennett, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower, though Hightower stated it's not for political reasons.

After the New York Daily News' Chuck Modiano wrote an open letter to Long, imploring him to join his teammates in opting out of the White House visit, the veteran pass-rusher responded on Twitter, saying it was always his intention to skip it and emphasized it's a decision he reached alone.

Long was one of the few white players to speak out strongly in support of Colin Kaepernick during his national anthem protest, and it was this stance that appeared to prompt Modiano to write the open letter.

Bennett and McCourty said they decided to skip the White House trip because of issues with President Donald Trump, with McCourty saying he wouldn't "feel accepted" there.