President Donald Trump is expected to award New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick the Presidential Medal of Freedom, according to reports.
Belichick could receive the Medal of Freedom on Thursday, Politico reported. Trump has already given 15 sports figures the award, including Babe Ruth and Tiger Woods. The medal is awarded to individuals who have made contributions in the fields of national security, world peace and culture.
Belichick has sat on the Presidential Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition since 2018, according to ESPN. His fellow council member, New York Yankee Hall of Fame pitcher Mariano Rivera, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2019. (RELATED: Trump To Give Reps. Jim Jordan, Devin Nunes Presidential Medal Of Freedom)
Trump and Belichick’s relationship predates Trump’s presidency. “Our friendship goes back many years. Anybody who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person,” Belichick said in 2016 after then-candidate Trump read a letter the Patriots coach sent him at a campaign rally.
Democratic Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern criticized the announcement, saying Belichick should decline the award. “This president has made a mockery of the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” McGovern told CNN.
JUST NOW: “To accept it is disgraceful. “
— John Berman (@JohnBerman) January 11, 2021
Boston Globe writer Ben Volin suggested that Belichick might not accept the award at all.
Based on what I was told last night, I don’t think it’s a certainty yet that Belichick accepts this award https://t.co/ovK8JNQYMe
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) January 11, 2021
Considered one of the greatest coaches in National Football League history, Belichick has won the most Super Bowls of all time and is third in wins behind only Don Shula and George Halas.