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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, including Tom Brady, visit White House


President Joe Biden sung the praises of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Tuesday, including star quarterback Tom Brady, who has rejected some past invitations to the White House.

"It’s nice for me to be back here,” Brady said.

The Super Bowl winning quarterback got laughs from Biden and others in attendance by jokingly comparing those who deny the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election with people who have doubted the Buccaneers.

"Not a lot of people think that we could have won; in fact about 40 percent of people still don’t think we won. Do you understand that Mr. President?”

Brady also said some people started calling him "Sleepy Tom" after he momentarily lost track of things during a game against the Chicago bears, alluding to the "Sleepy Joe" label Trump pinned on Biden during the campaign.

Biden lauded the team for overcoming an inauspicious start before gelling as a unit to make the playoffs and ultimately win the Super Bowl during a uniquely challenging season played amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Buccaneers were a "testament to the fact that it’s never too late to come together and achieve extraordinary things," Biden said.

Tuesday’s event came as the White House disclosed that a vaccinated staffer tested positive for Covid-19 after coming into contact with Democratic members of the Texas Legislature who are in town to prevent passage of new voting restrictions in the state. At one point, Biden turned around to the players stationed behind them and implored them to get vaccinated if they had not already done so.


Biden, the oldest person ever elected president, also noted that Brady and Bruce Arians were the oldest quarterback and head coach to helm a Super Bowl-winning team.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing wrong with being the oldest guy to make it to the mountaintop," Biden said.

The president also singled out wide receiver Chris Godwin — who was born in Philadelphia and raised in Delaware, two places close to Biden’s heart.

"Where I come from that’s a heck of a combination, man,” Biden said.

The appearance, in conjunction with the ceremony held earlier this month for the World Series-winning Los Angeles Dodgers, marks the demise of the culture wars that surrounded similar White House events during the Trump years.

Brady garnered heat during the 2016 presidential election campaign for displaying then-candidate Donald Trump’s signature red “Make America Great Again” hat in his locker while playing for the New England Patriots. He also made several comments supportive of Trump, though he also claimed they were taken out of context.

The two were friendly for years, well before Trump’s entrance into national politics, as well as periodic golf partners. The former president also has a relationship with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and longtime head coach Bill Belichick, though the latter spurned Trump’s offer of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Brady, who has won seven Super Bowls during his 20-year career, declined to join his Patriot teammates on their visit to the White House in 2017. At the time he cited “personal family matters” for the decision, which reportedly angered Trump.

Brady also skipped out on a White House visit during Barack Obama’s presidency for a similar reason.

Florida Agriculture Comissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat who holds statewide elected office is running to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis, posted a photo on Twitter of herself at the White House alongside Brady.

Though a number of championship-winning athletes have declined invitations to the White House, generally due to political differences with the sitting president, the symbolic event became a political football during Trump’s term.

Trump waged a prolonged campaign against professional football players and others who knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, going so far as to disinvite the Philadelphia Eagles less than a day before they were set to arrive in 2018.

He likewise disinvited NBA star Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors teammates after Curry signaled that he would not participate in the championship ceremony. The Warriors still visited Washington, D.C., in early 2018 and toured the National Museum of African American History and Culture instead.

This post courtesy of politico

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