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White House Patriots Crowd Size Stirs Controversy

21 April 2017

The New York Times set this one off with a tweet of two photos, one showing the New England Patriots visiting Trump at the White House on Wednesday and another showing them visiting President Obama in 2015.

The New England Patriots quickly took issue with the photo comparison, which featured an Associated Press photo of the Patriots standing behind Obama on the south side of the White House in 2015 - the stairs on either side of the main group packed with people.

The Super Bowl champs - who play in the AFC East with the New York Jets - joined US president Donald Trump in calling out the New York Times.

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The Patriots organization, however, says that the photos are misleading. It was the team's fifth Super Bowl victory since 1960. Facts: In 2015, over 40 football staff were on the stairs. Before his daily national security briefing at the White House, Trump fired off a tweet ripping the "failing" publication, which he said "just got caught in a big lie concerning New England Patriots visit to W.H". On Wednesday, they were seated on the South Lawn.

The organization said 34 players visited the White House Wednesday.

While some players stated they were skipping the Trump event for political reasons, the team suggested that because it has won two Super Bowls in three seasons, the lack of novelty of a White House visit might have kept some players away. Quarterback Tom Brady announced on Wednesday morning that he wouldn't be in attendance due to "personal family matters".

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But the celebrity web side reported Trump felt "betrayed" by Brady's absence, and made no mention of him at the White House event.

On Thursday, New York Times sports editor Jason Stallman apparently offered up an apology while talking to Colin Campbell of Yahoo, although there was no attribution.

A Patriots spokesman told the Times that 34 players attended this week's ceremony.

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White House Patriots Crowd Size Stirs Controversy