Patriots respond to comparison photo showing team with Obama versus Trump

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The New England Patriots and President Trump criticized The New York Times for tweeting a photo comparison that suggested a smaller turnout for the team's latest Super Bowl celebration.

The team's Twitter account also tweeted another picture from Wednesday that showed people posing for a photo on the steps, and upper balcony, of the White House. And they have a point: The 2015 photo included players, coaches, and administrative staff.

The New York Times clarified things in a new tweet that said: "UPDATE: Patriots say # of players was smaller this year than 2015 (34 vs. 50) but total delegation was roughly the same".

In the 2015 photo, two staircases are filled with men, whereas the photo with Trump shows empty staircases.

It is traditional for US championship sports teams in any sport to meet and greet the president (whoever that might be at the time) at the White House. That turned out not to be the case, but there was a new crowd size controversy involving the Trump administration that had people- including the president himself- talking Thursday morning. "In 2017, they were seated on the South Lawn".

Given the Patriots incredible run of success, they thought it might be better to compare the times that they have won two Super Bowls in three years and then visited the White House. Some players, such as Tom Brady, missed the visit for personal reasons, while others, such as LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long, did so due to their distaste for the president and his policies.

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Some players reportedly declined to attend the White House ceremony because they didn't want to be seen with Trump.

There is also a history of players skipping a White House visit, although a larger group of Pats players opted out this time for political reasons, i.e., their antipathy towards Trump, perhaps owing to pressure from activist groups.

Disagreement over the pictures aside, there were indeed fewer Patriots players in attendance at Wednesday's meeting than there were in 2015. Both those visits were when George W. Bush was president.

New England has now visited the White House five times after winning the Lombardy Trophy.

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