New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick announced Monday that he has refused to accept a presidential medal for freedom from President Trump, citing last week’s deadly uprising at the US Capitol. Sir. Trump was set to give the 68-year-old the highest civilian honor this week, a White House official had previously told CBS News.
A White House official told CBS News that they were informed of Belichick’s decision before the Patriots issued a statement. The White House declined to comment in response.
Belichick said in a statement obtained by CBS News that he was “flattered”
“Subsequently, the tragic events took place last week and the decision has been made not to proceed with the award,” he said. “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,” he added. “One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020, when conversations about social justice, equality and human rights through the great leadership within our team came to the fore and became actions. Continue this effort while remaining true to people, teams and country I love outweigh the benefits of each individual price. “
Da Mr. Trump ending his last days as president, he planned to award the Belichick Medal of Freedom on Thursday, a White House official told CBS News. Belichick, who has won six Super Bowls as the head coach of the Patriots, would have been the fifth public figure to receive the medal since a violent mob stormed the Capitol last week.
Three of the excellent – former golfers Annika Sorenstam, Gary Player and Babe Zaharias – were awarded the medal on Thursday less than 24 hours after the riots. Republican Congressman Jim Jordan, a loyal ally of Trump, received the medal on Monday.
Many of Mr. Trump’s critics andhas accused the president of waking up the mob. House Democrats on Monday unveiled an indictment accusing Mr Trump of “inciting an uprising” tied to the January 6 attack.
At least one local lawmaker said earlier Monday that he believed Belichick should stay away from the medal. Congressman Jim McGovern, a Democrat representing Massachusetts, told CNN that Belichick should deny it.
“Bill Belichick should do the right thing and say ‘No thank you’ … Accepting it as shameful,” he said.
Sir. Trump thinks a lot about Belichick and considers the legendary coach a friend. Over the summer, Trump praised Belichick and even joked that he would seek him for military advice, after being asked if Belichick or Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady had a better chance of winning the Super Bowl this year.
“This guy just knows how to win … You know, if I’ve ever had a military battle, I’d call Belichick up and say what do you think? What do you think? Give me a few ideas,” he told radio host Hugh Hewitt.
Belichick was also recently reappointed Mr. Trump’s Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition in December, CBS Boston reported. The purpose of the council is to “increase sports participation among youth with all backgrounds and abilities and promote a healthy and active lifestyle for all Americans,” according to its website.
Kristin Brown contributed to this report.