A handful of NFL stars, including former league MVP Adrian Peterson, are reportedly set to attend the White House Correspondents' dinner on Saturday, according to multiple reports, via The Hill by way of USA Today's For The Win.
In addition to Peterson, Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl champion Richard Sherman, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck and Washington Redskins backup quarterback Kirk Cousins are reportedly set to attend.
It's not clear how many NFL players were invited or will be attending this weekend.
According to USA Today Sports' Laken Litman, former Missouri defensive end and 2014 NFL draft prospect Michael Sam was invited to the event but declined in an effort to keep his focus on football.
Sam's publicist Howard Bragman said accepting the invite would have sent the "wrong message," per Litman:
We respectfully declined. As much fun as I would have had and he would have had going, it sends the wrong message. If he gets on a team and plays well, he’ll probably be invited next year. I don’t want people to think that he’s interested in anything other than getting ready for the draft.
It remains to be seen what role any of the NFL stars will play at Saturday's event, if any, but they'll no doubt be shaking plenty of hands, posing for photo after photo and signing a few autographs.
The impressive list of NFL invitees speaks to the league's tremendous growth over the years and just how ingrained it's become in American culture. Football is one of America's favorite traditions, and the White House is clearly acknowledging that.
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