New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced he will not be accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump on Monday.
Patriots’ HC Bill Belichick will not be traveling to Washington nor accepting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, he announced today. pic.twitter.com/uvLLigFlHU
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) January 12, 2021
“Recently, I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients,” Belicheck said in the statement, according to Schefter. (RELATED: President Donald Trump To Award Presidential Medal Of Freedom To Patriots HC Bill Belichick)
“Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,” he continued. “Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team. One of the most rewarding professional things took place in 2020, when through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions.
“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweighs the benefit of any individual award,” Belichick concluded.
The head coach of the New England team and President Donald Trump have been friends since before Trump took office.
“Our friendship goes back many years. Anybody who’s spent more than five minutes with me knows I’m not a political person,” Belichick told Sports Illustrated back in 2016 after then-candidate Trump read a letter the Patriots coach sent him at a campaign rally.