Patriots head coach Bill Belichick admirably rejected President Trump’s honor.
Most of the country is still reeling from last week, when a mob of armed Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol to protest the election of Joe Biden, who was being confirmed as his successor by Congress at the time the disturbing photos and videos first came to light.
The hypocrisy of such actions after the nationwide Black Lives Matter protest in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed black men and women was widely slandered is as off-putting as it gets, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Why are we touching on this? Because Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, a longtime admirer and supporter of Trump, was just offered the Presidential Medal of Freedom. During yet another period of civil unrest, there was simply no way Belichick could accept the bling, right?
That would be correct. In a lengthy statement obtained by various NFL insiders, the 68-year-old confirmed that, while flattered for what the honor represents, he would not be accepting the award due to the “tragic events of last week.”
Here’s Belichick’s full statement.
“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. Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.”
“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 things in 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. Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award.”
Political views aside, Belichick deserves credit for rejecting the gesture. After all, he and Trump have shared a close relationship for quite a while. Prior to his campaign victory in 2016, the soon-to-be President read a compliment-littered letter from the Patriots legend at a rally in New Hampshire.
On top of that, Belichick served on his council on sports, fitness and nutrition for the better part of three years.
When you consider the fallout from last week’s events, which resulted in five deaths (!), this should’ve been a no-brainer decision from Belichick. The pressure he was facing from the public to turn down the award was almost becoming overwhelming and there’s no telling what would’ve transpired had he chosen differently. We’re just relieved we don’t have to have that conversation.