Chris Long and Devin McCoutry are redefining what it means to “Be Patriots.”
The New England Patriots are scheduled to visit the White House on Wednesday to celebrate their Super Bowl championship.
While Patriots owner Bob Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady are likely very excited to see their good friend Donald Trump’s new digs, a few Patriots aren’t as excited about the trip.
Defensive end Chris Long and free safety Devin McCourty are not fans of Trump and his administration, and in a passionate video released last week, the two joined die-hard Patriots fans to speak out against the current president and explain why they’re skipping this trip to Washington, D.C.
“Right away, I knew I wasn’t going, because it was something I thought about before we even won the game,” McCourty said.
“For me it was simple. I don’t believe in excluding other people.”
Long, who signed a contract with the Philadelphia Eagles this offseason, has been very outspoken on social media about his decision to skip what he refers to as a mere “photo op.”
“My son grows up, and I believe the legacy of our president is going to be what it is, I don’t want him to say, ‘Hey dad, why did you go when you knew the right thing was to not go?’,” Long said in the video.
McCourty—a perennial co-captain for the Patriots, where he has played his entire career and is under contract until 2020—echoed Long’s reasoning at the recent Play it Forward panel at Boston University.
“I’m a new dad, you start to think of those things,” McCourty said. “How will I explain to her, why is there a photo op of me shaking his hand if I don’t agree?’,”
McCourty and Long were not alone in the video, which featured fans of all races and ages discussing what the team has meant to them throughout the years, the excitement of 2017’s come-from-behind Super Bowl victory, and their disdain for the bigotry that Trump has spewed, endorsed, and inspired.
“The misogyny, the racism, that’s not okay,” one fan said.
“I am the parent of two kids. Right now I feel that the leader of our nation is not being a role model to kids, and so I take that very seriously,” another added.
The fans expressed great gratitude for the players who are skipping the White House visit, and tried to distance the Patriots from ties to Trump and the alt-right. That’s easier said than done given the fact that the three most prominent members of the organization are all supporters of the president, but the team and its fans are not a monolith, and this video does a wonderful job highlighting that.
The Big Lead reported that the video was created by Patrice Lumumba Jones, the VP of Global Creative at the education publishing firm Pearson.
“I wanted to do this project because I felt that the election of Trump was the most devastating political event of my lifetime, and I needed to find a way to resist other than ripping off hot takes on Facebook,” Jones said.
At the end of the video, both Long and McCourty speak up for the causes they believe in.
“I believe in respecting and supporting our troops,” Long said, adding later that he supports “drinkable water” — a nod to one of his charity projects, WaterBoys.
“Let people be who they are,” McCourty added.
Predictably, there’s already a crowd of vocal Patriots fans asking the players to “stick to sports.” But the video has an answer to that, too, thanks to the wise words of an older male Patriots fan.
“For me it’s not political, it’s moral,” he said.
In heartfelt video, 2 Super Bowl champs explain why they won’t visit White House was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.