NBC’s Lauer to Patriots owner: Has Trump ‘strained your relationship’ with players?

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NBC “Today” co-host Matt Lauer grilled New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft on Monday over the decision of six players not to attend a White House Super Bowl victory celebration with President Trump, asking if his friendship with the president has “strained” his relationship with members of the team.

“Has your relationship with Donald Trump in any way strained your relationship with some of your players? Who, by the way, some say they don’t want to go to the White House to celebrate this win.”

Kraft responded that in the four previous times his teams have visited the White House in the past 15 years, there have always been some players who chose not to attend.

{mosads}“Every time we’ve had the privilege of going to the White House, a dozen of our players don’t go,” Kraft explained. “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,” the 75-year-old businessman continued.

“But this is America, we’re all free to do whatever is best for us, and we’re just privileged to be in a position to be going.”

Six players, including star running back LeGarrette Blount, will not attend the White House event. A date for the celebration has not been set. 

Kraft joined Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday at the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Trump tweeted a congratulations to the Patriots after the team’s historic comeback after falling behind 28-3 in the second half, calling Kraft, quarterback Tom Brady and coach Bill Belichick “total winners.”

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