NFL coach Bill Belichick TURNS DOWN Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump after ‘tragic’ Capitol riotsJanuary 12, 2021
NEW England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is declining the Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump in light of the Capitol riot last Wednesday.
Belichick explained in a statement on Monday that the “tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award,” according to ESPN.
The coach started by stating that he was offered the opportunity to receive the medal, which he was “flattered by out of resect for what the honor represents and admiration for prior recipients.”
But subsequently, the insurrection by Trump supporters last Wednesday changed his mind.
“Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation’s values, freedom and democracy,” Belichick stated.
He said he knows he also represents his family and the Patriots team, which he coached through a record six Super Bowl championships.
“One of the most rewarding things about my professional career 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,” Belichick continued.
“Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweighs the benefits of any individual reward.”
Trump planned to give the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Belichick on Thursday, a White House official told Politico on Sunday.
The medal, considered the foremost civilian decoration, is bestowed on individuals who have made “an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
Belichick's decision to decline the honor came the same day that Trump presented the medal to one of his staunch supporters, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan.
Even after the deadly riot by Trump supporters, Jordan still objected to certifying President-elect Joe Biden's win, which lawmakers completed after the interruption.
During the closed-door ceremony, Trump recognized Jordan for opposing his impeachment and special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe.
Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Hall of Fame golfers Annika Sorenstam and Gary Player on Thursday, the day after the insurrection, and both have been criticized for accepting.
The president has attempted to continue business as usual since the riot, even as Democratic lawmakers could vote as early as Tuesday on articles to impeach him a second time.
Before deciding to decline the Medal of Freedom, Belichick had a warm relationship with Trump.
During the 2016 presidential election, Belichick wrote a letter of support for Trump and called him a "very good friend."
Trump in a radio interview in August said Belichick was "a very good friend of mine."
“You know, if I ever had a military battle, I'd call up Belichick and say what do you think? What do you think? Give me a couple of ideas," Trump added.
In December, Trump reappointed Belichick to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition.
Belichick and the Patriots went to the White House after winning the Super Bowl in 2017, although some players skipped out.
More to follow…
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