In a statement to ESPN reporter Mike Reiss, the quarterback explained that he wouldn’t be in attendance due to a personal issue.
“In light of some recent developments, I am unable to attend today’s ceremony, as I am attending to some personal family matters,” the statement reads. Brady also skipped a 2015 visit with then-President Barack Obama, citing scheduling conflicts.
The tradition of Super Bowl winners being feted at the White House became a controversial issue after the team’s February win. Patriots’ player Martellus Bennett rejected the invitation on political grounds, and others quickly followed suit. Devin McCourty told TIME magazine that he would not be attending the ceremony because he didn’t feel accepted.
“With the president having so many strong opinions and prejudices I believe certain people might feel accepted there while others won’t,” McCourty told TIME.
Brady was not a part of the White House boycott and was scheduled to attend until his statement Wednesday morning.
Only hours before Brady made his announcement, news broke about the apparent death by suicide of Aaron Hernandez. Hernandez, a former tight end for the team, was imprisoned on a life sentence for murdering semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. Hernandez was found dead in his cell only days after being acquitted of a separate double homicide charge.