The New York Times set this one off with a tweet of two photos, one showing the New England Patriots visiting Trump at the White House on Wednesday and another showing them visiting President Obama in 2015.
The team responded on its Twitter account a few hours later that the Times' photos "lack context" because the 2015 picture includes more than 40 staff while staff were seated on the South Lawn for the latest pic. The two photos show the Patriots personnel with the president on the south side of the White House.
"The last time the #Patriots won two Super Bowls in three years, 36 players visited the White House".
The organization said 34 players visited the White House Wednesday.
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. Quarterback Tom Brady, whom Trump has called a friend, was among the missing, citing "personal family matters". The franchise has nine Super Bowl appearances.
But the celebrity web side reported Trump felt "betrayed" by Brady's absence, and made no mention of him at the White House event.
The photos showed an apparent discrepancy in turnout for the two visits, the first of which came during President Barack Obama's tenure. In 2012, however, the media industry generally blasted Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas for staying home during the Stanley Cup championship team's visit to the Obama White House because he disagreed with the policies of the federal government.
The delegation was made up of Patriots players as well as the organization's personnel.
The New York Times obtained a reaction from a Patriots' rep about the matter of size.
That's when George W. Bush was president.
A short time later the Times issued an update, saying the Patriots told them fewer players attended this year but that the total delegation was roughly the same.