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Was Tom Brady a no-show at White House because of press secretary’s rip?

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A big story to emerge out of the New England Patriots’ visit to the White House last week to celebrate the team’s Super Bowl championship was the conspicuous absence by one of its biggest stars, Tom Brady.

A conspiracy theory currently being floated is that Brady decided to rebuff the invite for a meet-and-greet with President Barack Obama due to an unflattering comment made by White House press secretary Josh Earnest in January during the throes of the DeflateGate scandal.

Earnest, a Kansas City Chiefs fan, took a shot at Brady for his public-relations skills during a news conference regarding DeflateGate where the quarterback stated the Patriots were innocent of any wrongdoing.

“For years it’s been clear that there is no risk that I was going to take Tom Brady’s job as quarterback of the New England Patriots,” Earnest said, stating it was his opinion that Brady provided an unconvincing defense stating the Patriots played no part in how footballs ended up underinflated at the AFC Championship Game.

“But I can tell you, as of today, it’s pretty clear that there’s no risk of him taking my job either.”

President Obama nevertheless praised Brady for his performance in Super Bowl XLIX while acknowledging the quarterback’s absence.

“There was of course Tom Brady, an all-time great who couldn’t be here with us today,” Obama said, “but who engineered a pair of surgical touchdown drives.”

Brady’s reason for declining the invite was that he had a prior family commitment. However, Brady was spotted at Gillette Stadium at the time the Patriots organization was attending the ceremony at the White House.

But in the end, it’s probably for the best Brady didn’t attend if he blew off the White House over those comments from Earnest, given President Obama did unleash a DeflateGate zinger during his speech.

“I usually tell a bunch of jokes at these events, but with the Patriots in town, I was worried that 11 out of 12 of them would fall flat,” he said.

(photo credit: WhiteHouse.gov)