Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

If Bill Belichick benched Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl strictly because he felt the cornerback hadn’t been playing or practicing well enough leading up to the game, it has become very clear that many players on the team do not support the decision.

Since Butler played just one snap (on special teams) in Super Bowl LII, there have been rumors that he broke team rules while in Minneapolis. That would provide a logical explanation for why Belichick chose not to play him, but Butler said in a statement Tuesday that any reports about him violating curfew or partying in the days leading up to the game are untrue. He posted that statement on Instagram, and Tom Brady was among the first people to publicly show his support for Butler.

In addition to Brady, several other current and former Patriots players liked the post.

Had Butler done something that resulted in disciplinary action from the team, there’s virtually no chance Brady and several other players would stand behind him publicly. The fact that they did only confirms that the latest we heard about Butler’s benching is accurate.

While the Patriots have been able to overcome in-house issues better than any other organization in sports, you have to wonder if there will be some lingering effects from the Butler situation. There were already reports of drama inside the walls of Gillette Stadium before Belichick seemingly divided his locker room in advance of the Super Bowl, so it will be interesting to see where things stand going forward.

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This article first appeared on Larry Brown Sports and was syndicated with permission.

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