New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady will not attend Wednesday's White House ceremony with his teammates due to "personal family matters."
Brady's decision not to visit the White House comes on the same day former teammate and convicted murderer Aaron Hernandez was found dead after an apparent suicide in his prison cell.
Brady's statement made no mention of Hernandez, but said: "In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today's ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matter."
The Patriots' visit to the White House comes after their historic comeback in the second-half of Super Bowl 51. Brady dedicated the win to his mother, Galynn, who battled cancer during their season, but rallied to see her son win his fifth Super Bowl.
In the statement provided to NBC News, the star quarterback thanked President Donald Trump for hosting the New England Patriots and praised his team.
"Our team has accomplished something very special that we are all proud of and will be for years to come," Brady said. "Hopefully, if we accomplish the goal of winning a championship in the future years, we will be back on the South Lawn again soon."
Brady joins a number of his teammates who won't be attending the ceremony at the White House. Patriots' defensive tackle Alan Branch became the latest to pull out for political reasons Wednesday morning, citing the president's "Access Hollywood" hot-mic comments.
Brady came under fire throughout the election for his friendship with Trump, which drew controversy and headlines throughout the campaign. At a November rally in New Hampshire, Trump said Brady called him just after the election to say he voted for him.
"He called today and he said, 'Donald, I support you, you're my friend and I voted for you,'" Trump said, to cheers, adding that Brady gave him permission to tell the crowd how he voted.
"He said, 'If you want to say it, you can say it,'" Trump said.
But since then, Brady has dodged questions about his relationship with Trump, telling ESPN that his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, told him not to "talk about politics anymore."
Athlete rejections of White House welcomes are not new. For instance, when the 1986 champion Chicago Bears were honored by President Barack Obama in 2011, former player Dan Hampton refused to attend because he opposed the Democrat's agenda. Three members of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins did the same thing in 2013.
And in 2015, when Brady didn't appear at a photo-op with the Super Bowl XLIX championship team citing a family commitment, some viewed it as a politically motivated snub of Obama.