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Commend Caitlyn Jenner for her powerful condemnation of Donald Trump’s transgender order 02.24.17 at 12:17 pm ET
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It’s sometimes difficult to take Caitlyn Jenner seriously, considering she’s spent many years of her life exploiting her name on the Kardashian family’s reality show. But in a world bereft of prominent transgender voices, she plays an important role. That was on display this week, when she pushed back against the Trump administration’s decision to overturn federal protections for transgender students that let them use restrooms corresponding with their gender identity.

In a video posted to Twitter Thursday, the two-time Olympic gold medalist rails against the revocation of the Obama-era order. Jenner, who supported President Donald Trump during the election, calls the policy a “disaster.”

“I have a message for President Trump, from one Republican to another,” Jenner said. “This is a disaster. And you can still fix it. You made a promise to protect the LGBTQ community. Call me.”

Throughout the campaign, Trump disingenuously presented himself as a pro-LGBTQ candidate. In his speech at the Republican National Convention, he pledged to protect the community from Islamic terrorism, while ignoring his own vice president’s hostile record on gay rights. He also named Jeff Sessions attorney general, who was one of the most anti-LGBTQ members of the senate and reportedly pushed for the reversal of President Barack Obama’s transgender guidelines.

Despite those actions, Trump gave the transgender community lip service in an interview last April on NBC’s “Today.” He said if Jenner were to visit Trump Tower, she could use any bathroom she chooses. Apparently, he doesn’t feel transgender kids should have that same right when they go to school.

After those comments, Jenner said she thought Trump would be more pro-LGBTQ than his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. But her previous endorsement didn’t preclude her from condemning the Trump administration’s policy.

“You’re sick. And because you’re weak, you pick on kids, you pick on women or anyone else you think is vulnerable,” she said in her video. “Apparently even becoming the attorney general isn’t enough to cure some people of their insecurities.”

Transgender kids are some of the most vulnerable people in the U.S. More than 80 percent of transgender students say they feel threatened at school, and 41 percent of transgender people say they’ve tried to commit suicide at least once in their lives. The suicide attempt rate of the overall U.S. population is 4.6 percent.

Jenner may not be the most intellectual spokesperson for the LGBTQ cause, but that’s OK. After hiding her identity for over 60 years –– she says she used to wear women’s clothing as a teenager –– Jenner seems proud of who she is. It’s important for people to see that.

There’s no singular moment in the gay rights movement that’s led to mainstream acceptance. With each person who comes out, the stigma around homosexuality continues to decrease.

Jenner is perhaps the most famous transgender person in the world. Her advocacy is meaningful, even if it comes in the form of a goofy-looking video recorded in her kitchen.

“I have a message for the trans kids of America: You’re winning,” she said. “I know it doesn’t feel like it today or every day, but you’re winning. Very soon, we will win full freedom nationwide and it’s going to be with bipartisan support.”

Read More: Caitlyn Jenner, Donald Trump,
Bill Belichick is a member of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club 02.18.17 at 10:54 am ET
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The New York Times says Bill Belichick is a paying member of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

The New York Times says Bill Belichick is a paying member of Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. (Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

Last weekend, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was photographed dining with President Donald Trump at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla. Don’t be surprised if his coach, Bill Belichick, is spotted at the property at some point this offseason.

For the third time in as many weeks, Trump is spending the weekend at his members-only club, which he’s turned into a winter White House. Last week, controversy arose when Trump was briefed about North Korea’s ballistic missile test on the resort’s patio, creating the possibility that onlooking patrons were privy to classified information.

In a story Saturday, the New York Times runs down some of the club’s dynamics, including concerns about members using their status to wield influence with the president. Shortly after Trump was elected to the Oval Office, the entry fee doubled to $200,000. Most of the nearly 500 paying members are real estate developers, Wall Street executives and other titans of industry who will be likely be affected by the administration’s policies.

The article primarily focuses on the largely anonymous corporate executives who bandy about the property, but it also mentions a couple of members who are well-known to Bostonians: columnist Howie Carr, and Belichick.

It’s not surprising that Belichick is a member. Last year, he and his girlfriend, Linda Holliday, took an after-dinner picture with Trump at Mar-a-Lago.

Perhaps another meal is on the schedule. Trump still has to congratulate Belichick on the Super Bowl win, and thank him for the endorsement letter he wrote before the election.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump,
Chris Long tears into rubes who are criticizing him for skipping White House visit 02.17.17 at 11:08 am ET
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Chris Long is a free agent this offseason. (John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports)

Chris Long is a free agent this offseason. (John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports)

Last week, Chris Long shredded a New York Daily News columnist for writing him a dopey open letter about skipping the Patriots’ upcoming White House visit. On Thursday, he set his sights on folks who are bashing him for his plan to boycott the proceedings.

Long is one of six Patriots players who say they won’t be heading to the White House for a photo-op with President Donald Trump later this year. Though not all of the players said their decisions are political –– Dont’a Hightower also skipped in 2015 when Barack Obama was in office –– it’s fair to assume Long isn’t Trump’s biggest fan.

“I’m just not doing it,” he said recently on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon my Take” podcast when asked why he doesn’t want to go. “I’ve got plenty of serious political reasons that probably don’t belong on this show, but I’m just not doing it. America’s an awesome country, man. Everybody knows that. That’s why I have this choice.”

Since sportswriting is now a primarily liberal profession, Long didn’t hear a lot of disapproval about his decision in the media. But on Twitter, he decided to lash out at those who have been critical of him. Ironically, this shows Long is just as sensitive as our whiner-in-chief, whom he presumably loathes. (That doesn’t mean it’s not entertaining, however. It’s always nice to see rubes get put in their place.)

The primary focus of Long’s charity is to provide clean drinking water to communities in East Africa, for what it’s worth.

Despite that tweet storm, Long’s best moment on social media remains when he issued a biting rebuttal to Roger Goodell’s ludicrous analogy about couch sitting being just as dangerous as playing football.

“I am #blessed to survive a night on the couch. But I knew the risks,” he wrote after Super Bowl 50.

Read More: Chris Long, Donald Trump, New England Patriots,
Donald Trump refuses to fill out NCAA tournament bracket for ESPN 02.15.17 at 4:09 pm ET
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Donald Trump won't be filling out a bracket this year. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool Photo/USA Today Network)

Donald Trump won’t be filling out a bracket this year. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool Photo/USA Today Network)

Throughout all eight years of his presidency, Barack Obama filled out NCAA tournament brackets on ESPN. Donald Trump is discontinuing the tradition.

According to the Washington Post, Trump declined ESPN’s bracket offer. In a statement provided to the Post, White House spokeswoman Hope Hicks didn’t provide many details about the reasoning behind the President’s decision.

“We look forward to working with ESPN on another opportunity in the near future,” she said.

Obama, a basketball enthusiast who frequently played pick-up games with staff members and other politicians, filled out both men’s and women’s brackets for an annual special on ESPN. Basketball analyst Andy Katz, who guided the President through the process, told the Post Obama’s passion for the game made the arrangement work.

“He wasn’t as dialed in to every player or team but had conversational knowledge to offer his own analysis on the NCAA tournament for the men’s and women’s game. Baracketology was a success because it was clear he was a fan of the sport and the NCAA tournament, like millions of other Americans,” he said.

Though Trump holds an apparent reverence for athletes, it’s unclear how closely he follows sports (he bailed on his beloved Patriots during halftime of Super Bowl LI, missing the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history). While Obama was known to watch SportsCenter in his free time, Trump opts for cable news. He often live-tweets the morning talk shows, offering his unfiltered analysis on Twitter. Wednesday morning, Trump pleaded with his followers to watch Fox and Friends and ditch CNN and MSNBC, which were covering the fallout from Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation.

While ESPN likely would’ve caught flak for collaborating with Trump, much like Saturday Night Live did in 2015 when he hosted an episode, this is a negative development for the WorldWide Leader. In recent months, the network has been criticized for its apparent left-wing bias. Featuring a softball segment with Trump may have helped change that perception –– at least for one day.

Read More: Donald Trump, ESPN,
Robert Kraft is acting like one of Donald Trump’s political surrogates 02.13.17 at 1:26 pm ET
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Kraft routinely touts Trump's economic plans. (Andrew Innerarity/USA TODAY Sports)

Robert Kraft routinely touts Donald Trump’s economic plans. (Andrew Innerarity/USA Today Sports)

If Robert Kraft needs an activity this offseason, perhaps he could fill in for Donald Trump’s embattled White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer. He appeared to be auditioning for the role in an interview Monday on Fox Business Network.

The Patriots’ owner, who also appeared on NBC’s TODAY show, was asked about attending dinner with Trump Friday at his Mar-a-Largo estate alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Kraft third-wheeled for the evening’s proceedings, and was seated across from the President.

“[President Trump and Prime Minister Abe] had a real connection. I think it’s going [to be] to the benefit of both countries,” he said on Mornings with Maria. “The president stressed the need to create jobs and have a fair trade relationsihp. They both seem connected in the area of defense and all the issues that Americans would care about.”

When asked about Trump’s policies as a whole, Kraft said he thinks they’ll be great for working families –– echoing his comments to the New York Times last month.

“The most important thing for our country is new, good jobs –– especially in the inner-cities for working class people,” Kraft said. “People who live in the inner-city –– for the last decade, I don’t think they’ve gotten their fair share. I think if we can create a vibrant economy and have new stimulation, have this deregulation, and repatriation and tax reform, I think that’ll create a vibrant economic environment.”

During Super Bowl week, Kraft explained some of the history behind his relationship with Trump. He says when his wife, Myra, passed away in 2011, Trump called once per week for one year. With that in mind, it’s easy to understand why Kraft feels an apparent loyalty towards Trump.

But unlike Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, who are also buddies with the President, Kraft discusses Trump’s political policies. During his interview with Fox Business, he parroted Trump’s vapid economic rhetoric, acting like a cable news surrogate.

Moments like these demonstrate why the Patriots and Trump are inseparable. Kraft aligning himself with Trump not just personally, but politically, is a relevant story –– just like when any celebrity or influential person decides to step into the political arena.

During his TODAY show interview, Kraft expressed support for the six Patriots players who announced last week they plan to skip the ceremonial White House visit. But he also appeared to criticize the press for fixating on the story, a move right out of the Trump playbook.

“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.”

With deflections like that, maybe Kraft will soon be making his way onto a CNN set.

Read More: Donald Trump, Robert Kraft,
Kevin Youkilis says he supports Patriots players who want to skip White House visit 02.09.17 at 4:19 pm ET
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Five Patriots players have announced they’re not going to visit the White House this year. Tom Brady’s brother-in-law, former Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis, supports their decision.

Youkilis, who’s married to Brady’s sister, Julie, tweeted this week he doesn’t understand why players get criticized for skipping the customary White House trip. He followed up on those thoughts Thursday, appearing to theorize that people are afraid to mix sports and politics.

It’s been a busy week for Youkilis, who was in attendance to watch the Patriots defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI. The three-time All-Star was included in the Brady family pre-Super Bowl photo, standing off to the right.

It takes a team. And so much love. #NeverStopBelieving

A photo posted by Tom Brady (@tombrady) on

This isn’t the first time Youkilis has commented on politics over the last couple of months. In December, he chimed in on WEEI.com’s report about President Donald Trump considering ex-Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine for United States Ambassador to Japan. Valentine questioned Youkilis’ commitment during the disastrous 2012 season, saying he wasn’t as “physically or emotionally into the game” as he had been in the past. Two months later, Youkilis was traded to the White Sox

Last month, Valentine said he was no longer a candidate for the ambassadorship.

Read More: Donald Trump, kevin youkilis, New England Patriots,
Patriots players who plan to skip White House trip are delivering ultimate diss to Donald Trump at 1:46 pm ET
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Trump will likely take every White House snub personally. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

Trump will likely take every White House snub personally. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

In nearly every liberal corner of the country, the Patriots have been castigated for their ties to Donald Trump. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft are all friends with the President, defending his character at every turn. But it’s also worth noting that several Patriots players are taking a stand against Trump, humiliating him in public fashion.

In the aftermath of New England’s historic comeback win over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, five players have come out and said they won’t be going to the White House this year for a presidential photo-op. Martellus Bennett first revealed his plans to snub Trump at Media Night, saying he doesn’t support him. The tight end reiterated his feelings Sunday.

Devin McCourty, who’s one of the Patriots’ team captains, took his protest one step further. In addition to announcing his intended absence, he says he “doesn’t feel welcome” at the White House with Trump in office. LeGarrette Blount expressed similar sentiments Thursday, telling Rich Eisen he doesn’t think he’s welcome there, either.

Chris Long also won’t be in attendance, and Dont’a Hightower plans to sit out the proceedings as well. (Hightower also didn’t go in 2015 when Barack Obama was president.)

Ever since 1865, when President Andrew Johnson hosted the Brooklyn Atlantics and Washington Nationals amateur baseball clubs, sports teams have visited the White House for celebratory ceremonies. Ronald Reagan started making it a regular occurrence in the 1980’s, and today, roughly a dozen clubs stop by each year.

Throughout the last 40 years, plenty of players have skipped the customary White House trip. But it’s rare for them to say it was for political purposes. When Larry Bird didn’t go in 1984, he told a reporter the president knew where to find him. Michael Jordan golfed instead of visiting George H.W. Bush in 1991 and a family commitment reportedly kept Brady from meeting Obama two years ago.

When players do reveal their motivations behind a White House absence, it’s a big story. Former Bruins goalie Tim Thomas garnered headlines in 2012, when he said he wasn’t going because the federal government under Obama was “threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People.” Ex-Ravens center Matt Birk, a pro-life advocate, made news when he declined to show up in 2013 because of Obama’s support for Planned Parenthood.

With Trump in office, a record-setting number of athletes are expected to forego the White House tradition. For a man who’s obsessed with appearance and aesthetics, that would be an embarrassing blow.

Throughout the entirety of his campaign, Trump flaunted his apparent reverence for sports stars. He campaigned with Bobby Knight in Indiana, promised to present an “Athlete’s Night” at the Republican National Convention and frequently mentioned his three good friends –– Brady, Belichick and Kraft. With that in mind, it only makes sense for Trump’s beloved Patriots to be the first professional team that visits him in office.

Except, leading up to the event, the story will likely be about the players who aren’t going. This week, running back James White said he was still considering a White House boycott, and several of his teammates probably feel similarly. When the Patriots go to the White House this spring, it’s nearly certain that more than five players will opt to stay behind.

Every other person who’s ever sat in the Oval Office probably didn’t spend any time stewing over athletes who didn’t want to come shake their hand during a ceremonial event. But Trump is different. This is a man who on the first full day of his presidency, sent out his press secretary to lie about his inauguration crowd size. He tweets constantly about Saturday Night Live and is obsessed with media coverage. Trump’s apparent insecurities run so deep, that he reportedly brags about the breadth of his electoral college win in phone calls with foreign leaders.

Given his tweet calling millions of protesters “anarchists” and “thugs,” Trump doesn’t appear to respect the right of free speech. He seems to view every sign of dissent, such as a federal judge temporarily halting his possibly unconstitutional travel ban, as a personal slight. An athlete refusing to visit the White House to meet the president –– an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity –– is the ultimate diss.

Nearly 30 years ago, Graydon Carter, now the editor of Vanity Fair, called Trump in Spy Magazine a “short-fingered vulgarian.” To this day, Carter says he occasionally receives photographs from Trump, in which the President circles his fingers in gold sharpie to showcase their length.

Whenever Trump looks at pictures of the Patriots’ visit, he’ll be forced to remember that numerous members of his favorite football team didn’t want to meet him. And by all accounts, it will bother him greatly.

Brady and Co. have long been a source of pride for Trump. But for the next couple of months, as the anticipation for their White House visit builds, they’ll be a thorn in his side.

This post was updated to include LeGarrette Blount’s comments, which were made after the article was published.  

Read More: Chris Long, Devin McCourty, Donald Trump, Martellus Bennett
Donald Trump, after bailing on the Patriots, congratulates them on Super Bowl win 02.06.17 at 12:17 am ET
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Donald Trump congratulated his good friends Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft on their fifth Super Bowl championship. But the truth is, he bailed on them.

At 8:57 p.m., with the Patriots trailing the Falcons 28-3, the President left his own Super Bowl party. Trump was watching the game at his Florida golf club, flanked by his chief of staff Reince Preibus and wife Melania –– both of whom looked despondent.

In his pregame interview with Bill O’Reilly, Trump predicted the Patriots would win by eight points. He also intimated he was rooting for the Pats, saying it’s important to “stick up for your friends.”

That’s what Brady, Belichick and Kraft have done for Trump over the last 18 months. All three of them, and Brady in particular, have stuck up for him in the face of incessant criticism. But that apparently didn’t matter to Trump Sunday. When the Patriots fell behind, he hopped into his motorcade. Brady went on to complete 21-of-27 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter and overtime.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft
Donald Trump: Tom Brady is ‘getting a lot of popularity’ out of their friendship 02.05.17 at 4:22 pm ET
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Donald Trump said Tom Brady is gaining popularity because of him. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

Donald Trump said Tom Brady is gaining popularity because of him. (Jack Gruber/USA Today Network)

President Donald Trump talks incessantly about his friendships with Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. The pattern continued in his pre-game interview Sunday with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

When asked about the criticism Brady and Co. have faced for their ties to him, Trump said he believes it also has been beneficial for them.

“They’re taking a lot of heat. But you know what? They’re also getting a lot of popularity out of it. I think they’re going to do very well. Tom’s a winner,” he said.

Trump didn’t explicitly say he was rooting of the Patriots Sunday, but implied he was pulling for his pals, who he thinks will win by eight points.

“I think the other team is fantastic, though. No, I think it’s a fantastic team –– turned out to be a good quarterback,” he said. “But you know, there’s less pressure on the Patriots, because they’ve been there. Once you’ve won, once you’ve done it –– and they’ve done it –– once you’ve done it, there’s a lot less pressure. So, we’ll see what happens. But you know? You have to stick up for your friends, right?”

Given Trump’s closeness to the Krafts, there’s been some speculation he’ll be the first sitting president to ever attend the Super Bowl. His vice president, noted Brady hater Mike Pence, will be at NRG Stadium in Houston.

When asked on Kirk & Callahan Friday about the possibility of Trump showing up, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft demurred.

“You don’t –– I don’t know. Talk to the White House. They would know what’s going on,” he said.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Robert Kraft
Bill Maher: F— Tom Brady and f— Bill Belichick 02.04.17 at 2:05 pm ET
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Bill Maher has weighed in on the Patriots’ love affair with Donald Trump.

The provocative Real Time host brought up the subject during his closing monologue Friday night, and fired off a salvo of insults towards Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

“The Falcons are playing a team where the owner, the coach and the star quarterback all love and support Donald Trump,” he said. “So I’d really like them to lose by the score of a million-f—— thousand to one.”

Despite attending Trump’s inauguration and saying his policies are “going to be great” for America, Robert Kraft was largely spared from Maher’s onslaught. Instead, the comedian singled out Brady.

“I love the Falcons! I love their running back, what’s-his-face, and the guy who catches the ball, but mostly I love them because Tom Brady was one of the first to display a ‘Make America Great Again’ hat, because America’s been so tough on Tom so far,” Maher said. “And back when Tom was asked if he thought Trump would be president, he said, ‘I hope so, that would be great.’ Hey Tom, f— you.”

After reading portions of the fawning letter Belichick sent Trump, which the President read aloud at a campaign rally the night before the election, Maher had similar words for the Patriots coach.

“Wow, that’s some serious butt-licking, coach,” he said. “Let me give you some advice for the big game: F— you, Belichick. F— you and your deflated balls you joyless, cheating f—.”

At the end of his rant, Maher, who’s a minority owner of the Mets, bemoaned the politicization of sports. Kind of.

“[Trump] took something beautiful, a game where millionaires give each other brain damage, and made it tawdry and cheap,” he said. “I don’t want to make everything political, but that’s where we’re headed. Athletes are refusing to stay at Trump hotels. People are unfriending each other on Facebook. Siblings have stopped talking to one another, which makes it hard to get laid in the South.”

Read More: Bill Belichick, Donald Trump, New England Patriots, Tom Brady