Like his New England Patriots teammates Martellus Bennett and Devin McCourty, defensive end Chris Long won't be attending the White House to meet President Donald Trump in honor of the team's Super Bowl victory.
He shared the news in response to New York Daily News writer Chuck Modiano, who implored Long via an open letter to follow Bennett and McCourty's lead.
What Modiano didn't already know—and apparently made zero effort to find out—is that Long had already made his own decision on the matter.
Oh Chuck. Planned on skipping, hadn't been asked. Don't need an open letter explaining my own words to me. Not *joining* anyone. My call. https://t.co/XWo9x2XT40
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) February 9, 2017
According to Modiano, "in a pathetic sea of NFL white silence this year, [Long is] one of the only white NFL athletes who publicly seemed to 'get it' after Colin Kaepernick took his national anthem stand."
While several African-American players around the league followed in Kaepernick's kneeling through the national anthem to protest racial discrimination, Long acknowledged white privilege in an interview with ESPN and displayed respect for the stand the group was taking.
"I play in a league that's 70 percent black, and my peers, guys I come to work with, guys I respect, who are very socially aware, intellectual guys, if they identify something that they think is worth putting their reputations on the line, creating controversy, I'm going to listen to those guys," Long said in September.
"And I respect the anthem. I would never kneel for it. We all come from different walks of life and think differently about the anthem and the flag and what that means. But I think you can respect and find a lot of truth in what these guys are talking about, and not kneel. Those aren't mutually exclusive ideas."
Kaepernick was grateful for not just the sentiment, but that Long made the gesture so publicly.
"I think it was huge that Chris stood up and took that stand," the San Francisco 49ers quarterback said. "I don't know if he realizes how much that means to this movement and trying to get things changed."
Given these values, it's no surprise Long isn't champing at the bit to dwarf Trump with a handshake.